The Myth of Regime Moderation

Is Iran Moderating under Hassan Rouhani?

Since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers on July 14, 2015, also known as the Iran Deal, UANI has been monitoring the day-to-day actions of the Iranian regime to determine if the Iranian regime is abiding by its commitments and moderating its aggressive and threatening behavior.

A key benefit of the Iran Deal, proponents of the agreement argued, would be that it would contribute to the moderation of the Iranian regime. By tracking developments in Iran’s nuclear program, human rights situation, regional destabilizing activities, sponsorship of terrorism, and relations with the U.S., UANI’s JCPOA Accountability Tracker clearly shows that the Iranian regime has not moderated as a result of the JCPOA and has in fact adopted a more hardline approach both in its domestic and foreign policy.

To see daily Iran-related developments prior to the JCPOA, view UANI’s Rouhani Accountability Tracker.

Date Theme Event
08-28-2020
Nuclear Program

The domestic intelligence agency for the German state of Saarland added new weight to intelligence reports from its sister states that previously confirmed the Islamic Republic of Iran sought technology for WMDs and missile carrier systems.

The domestic intelligence agency for the German state of Saarland added new weight to intelligence reports from its sister states that previously confirmed the Islamic Republic of Iran sought technology for weapons of mass destruction and missile carrier systems during time period of 2019. The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 112-page intelligence report, which was released last week, titled “Overview of the situation” that addresses security threats faced by the small West German state Saarland. “Iran, Pakistan and, to a lesser extent Syria, made efforts to procure goods and know-how for the further development of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems,” wrote the intelligence officials for the Saarland. "Delivery system" is typically defined as the capability to launch missiles. (Jerusalem Post)

08-27-2020
Human Rights

The husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who is on hunger strike at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, said her health has badly deteriorated after seventeen days of refusing food.

The husband of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist who is on hunger strike at Tehran's notorious Evin Prison, said Thursday her health has badly deteriorated after seventeen days of refusing food. Ms. Sotoudeh went on a hunger strike on August 11 to protest the "unfair" and "illegal" conditions of political prisoners in Iran and said their situation has even worsened after the coronavirus pandemic. In social media posts on Thursday, Reza Khandan wrote that Ms. Sotoudeh's blood pressure and blood sugar levels are fluctuating greatly, and she has gone down to forty-seven kilos from fifty-three. According to Mr. Khandan nausea does not allow Ms. Sotoudeh to drink enough water or sugar so her blood sugar level sometimes drops to as low as 44. (Radio Farda)

08-26-2020
Terrorism

Unsophisticated Iranian hackers are attacking company networks with ransomware, a cybersecurity firm said.

Unsophisticated Iranian hackers are attacking company networks with ransomware, a cybersecurity firm said. The attackers have been using Dharma ransomware “and a mix of publicly available tools” to target companies in Russia, Japan, China and India, cybersecurity firm Group-IB said earlier this week. Dharma ransomware, which is gaining popularity with cybercriminals, is typically installed by hacking into computers over Remote Desktop Protocol Services (RDP) – a Microsoft-developed technology for connecting to other computers over a network. After scanning the Internet for computers running RDP, hackers will then try to brute force the password – trying multiple passwords hoping that one eventually works. Once access is gained, the attackers will install the ransomware, which encrypts the computer and locks out the users. Often, the attackers also try to encrypt other computers on the network. (Fox News)

08-25-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran won’t accept any additional demands beyond its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, the country’s top nuclear official declared Tuesday as the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog made his first visit to Iran.

Iran won’t accept any additional demands beyond its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, the country’s top nuclear official declared Tuesday as the chief of the U.N. nuclear watchdog made his first visit to Iran. Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Iran on Monday to press for access to sites where the Islamic Republic is suspected of having stored or used undeclared nuclear material. Grossi took over the IAEA after the sudden death of its late director-general Yukiya Amano last year. Grossi’s visit comes as the U.S. is pushing to “snapback” U.N. sanctions on Iran for allegedly violating the nuclear deal with world powers. (Associated Press)

08-23-2020
Human Rights

A Revolutionary Court in Iran has ruled against fourteen activists who had protested mismanagement and corruption in the clergy-dominated country last November.

A Revolutionary Court in Iran has ruled against fourteen activists who had protested mismanagement and corruption in the clergy-dominated country last November. Some of the protesters are sentenced to one to five years in jail. Announcing the verdicts, a Telegram channel in Iran reported on Saturday, August 22, that prominent pro-reform political activist, Mehdi Mahmoudian, was sentenced to five years in prison, while his comrades, former members of Iran's parliament, Ali Shakouri Rad and Mohsen Armin, the son of an imprisoned dissident, Mohammad Hossein Karroubi, Qorban Behzadian Nejad, and a former Tehran city councilor Ms. Sediqeh Vasmaqi, were each sentenced to one year behind bars. In a statement in 2019, 77 political activists had called for, "The indiscriminate firing of a rifle procured through public treasury to defend ordinary and unarmed citizens who poured into the streets to express their protest and anger, is a crime--- a crime that the law and the judiciary should not hesitate for a moment in pursuing its initiators, commanders, and perpetrators." (Radio Farda)

08-20-2020
Military

Iran on Thursday unveiled two new types of long-range missiles, named after former IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and former Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, on the occasion of national Defense Industry Day.

Iran on Thursday unveiled two new types of long-range missiles on the occasion of national Defense Industry Day. The two new missiles, named after former IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) anti-terror group, were unveiled on Thursday during a virtual ceremony attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The first ballistic missile dubbed “Martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani” has a range close to 1,400 kilometers, while the second one dubbed “Martyr Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis” is a cruise missile with a range of 1,000 kilometers. (Tasnim)

08-18-2020
Syria Conflict

As Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi prepares for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump this week, attacks on American targets by pro-Iranian fighters have been on the rise.

As Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi prepares for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump this week, attacks on American targets by pro-Iranian fighters have been on the rise. With Tehran and Washington competing for influence in Iraq, the gulf between pro-Iranian factions and Baghdad's US-friendly premier is growing. When Kadhemi meets Trump on Thursday for the first time, the top agenda for the Iraqi leader is the presence of 5,000 US troops deployed in his country. (AFP)

08-18-2020
Nuclear Program

A group of senior Iranian lawmakers have voiced support for boosting the Islamic Republic's nuclear production.

A group of senior Iranian lawmakers has voiced support for boosting the Islamic Republic's nuclear production, including the development of nuclear-powered submarine engines should the United States successfully trigger international sanctions that would effectively kill a five-year agreement among world powers. The Islamic Consultative Assembly's Commission of National Security and Foreign Policy released a seven-point statement Tuesday expressing confidence in Iran's ability to win the diplomatic dispute over whether the U.S. had the right to dismantle the 2015 nuclear agreement it abandoned in 2018. At the same time, the legislators laid out other measures to prepare for "the illegal activation of the trigger mechanism" that would revive pre-deal sanctions. The statement called on the Iran Atomic Energy Organization to "immediately return all nuclear activity" to levels attained before the accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. This included activating IR4, IR6, IR8 centrifuges to supply enrich uranium at 190,000 separative work units and "to accelerate the construction of nuclear propellants in order to equip our country's navy." (Newsweek)

08-17-2020
Military

Iran's defense minister has said the country plans to export weapons as soon as sanctions preventing such sales are lifted, following the U.S. failure last week to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Tehran.

Iran's defense minister has said the country plans to export weapons as soon as sanctions preventing such sales are lifted, following the U.S. failure last week to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Tehran. Brigadier General Amir Hatami told reporters Sunday that sanctions have been unable to stifle Iran's arms industry, and vowed that the country "will use all capacities in the world to meet its arms requirements, selling and exporting weapons after sanctions removal," according to the Mehr News Agency. Hatami was one of several Iranian officials to celebrate the American failure to convince the U.N. Security Council to extend the arms embargo, which is due to expire in October. (Newsweek)

08-17-2020
Terrorism

US intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group just last year alone.

US intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks carried out by the militant group just last year alone, including a suicide bombing at a US air base in December, CNN has learned. "Bounties" were paid by a foreign government, identified to CNN as Iran, to the Haqqani network -- a terrorist group that is led by the second highest ranking leader of the Taliban -- for their attack on Bagram Air Base on December 11, which killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others, including four US personnel, according to a Pentagon briefing document reviewed by CNN. The name of the foreign government that made these payments remains classified but two sources familiar with the intelligence confirmed to CNN that it refers to Iran. (CNN)

08-15-2020
Extremism

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard vowed Saturday there would be dangerous consequences for the United Arab Emirates after it announced a historic deal with Israel to open up diplomatic relations.

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard vowed Saturday there would be dangerous consequences for the United Arab Emirates after it announced a historic deal with Israel to open up diplomatic relations. The UAE is the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to establish normalized relations with Israel, Iran’s regional archenemy. As part of the U.S.-brokered deal, Israel agreed to temporarily put off the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state. The Iranian Guard called the deal a “shameful” agreement and an “evil action” that was underwritten by the U.S., according to the group’s statement on a website it runs, Sepah News. (Associated Press)

08-14-2020
Extremism

Iran has condemned a deal establishing full diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, calling it a stab in the back to all Muslims.

Iran has condemned a deal establishing full diplomatic relations between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, calling it a stab in the back to all Muslims. Tehran, in the foreign ministry statement on Friday, called the normalising of ties between the two countries a dangerous, "shameful" measure and warned the UAE against Israel interfering in the "political equations" of the Gulf region. "The UAE government and other accompanying governments must accept responsibility for all the consequences of this action," the statement said. The move was an act of "strategic stupidity from Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv that will undoubtedly strengthen the resistance axis in the region", it added. (Al-Jazeera)

08-13-2020
Syria Conflict

The Iranian navy boarded and briefly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., the American military said.

The Iranian navy boarded and briefly seized a Liberian-flagged oil tanker near the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., the American military said Thursday. The U.S. military’s Central Command published a black-and-white video showing what appeared to be special forces fast-roping down from a helicopter onto the MT Wila, whose last position appeared to be off the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates near the city of Khorfakkan. The Iranian navy held the vessel for some five hours before releasing it Wednesday, said a U.S. military official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet made public. The Wila made no distress calls before, during and after the seizure, the official said. (Associated Press)

08-13-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran has reportedly been moving to boost uranium enrichment at the Natanz nuclear facility, the site of a mysterious blast last month that allegedly targeted advanced centrifuges.

Iran has reportedly been moving to boost uranium enrichment at the Natanz nuclear facility, the site of a mysterious blast last month that allegedly targeted advanced centrifuges. A document from the International Atomic Energy Agency cited by the Bloomberg news agency said new advanced centrifuges were being moved from a pilot facility to a new area at Natanz. Piping has been installed to accommodate higher volumes of enriched material produced by three new cascades, made up of 164 centrifuges each, the document stated. (Times of Israel)

08-10-2020
Human Rights

Iran shut down a newspaper after it quoted a former member of the national coronavirus taskforce as saying the country’s tolls from the epidemic could be 20 times higher than official figures, state news agency IRNA reported.

Iran shut down a newspaper on Monday after it quoted a former member of the national coronavirus taskforce as saying the country’s tolls from the epidemic could be 20 times higher than official figures, state news agency IRNA reported. “The Jahan-e Sanat newspaper was shut down today for publishing an interview on Sunday,” the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Mohammadreza Saadi, told IRNA. On Sunday, the newspaper published an interview with Mohammadreza Mahboubfar, in which he said: “The figures announced by the officials on coronavirus cases and deaths account for only 5% of the country’s real tolls”. (Reuters)

08-06-2020
Syria Conflict

Bahrain foiled two attempts to smuggle explosives from Iran after seizing two cars loaded with explosive materials, the Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday.

Bahrain foiled two attempts to smuggle explosives from Iran after seizing two cars loaded with explosive materials, the Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday. The ministry said those arrested confessed to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group being behind the operation. Hezbollah has previously attempted to conduct a similar operation in Bahrain in February 2011. Manama's authorities foiled at the time an attempt to smuggle a shipment of ammunition, explosives and weapons off the Bahraini coast and arrested a "terrorist cell" with links to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) the same year. (Al-Arabiya)

08-05-2020
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary said Mostafa Salehi, a protester detained during anti-government demonstrations in December 2017, has been put to the gallows.

Iran’s judiciary said Mostafa Salehi, a protester detained during anti-government demonstrations in December 2017, has been put to the gallows. The execution by hanging was carried out in the early hours of Wednesday at Dastgerd Prison, in the central city of Isfahan. One day before the execution, HRANA News Agency — run by a group of Iranian human rights advocates, whose activities are banned by the Islamic Republic — renewed calls for a halt to the order. In a detailed report, the group voiced concern that prison authorities were pressing ahead with the death penalty procedures as the convict was sent to solitary confinement and was barred from contacting his family, two common alarms in the run-up to most executions in Iran. Judges found Salehi guilty of premeditated murder of an officer with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during the protests. In the proceedings, however, Salehi had denied the murder charges. IRGC-affiliated media outlets reported that Salehi had also acted as “riot leader” in his hometown of Kahriz-Sang, Isfahan province. (Al-Monitor)

08-03-2020
Terrorism

Israeli defense officials claimed that it is likely that Iran, rather than Hezbollah, was behind the local cell that attempted to plant explosive devices along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights.

Israeli defense officials claimed that it is likely that Iran, rather than Hezbollah, was behind the local cell that attempted to plant explosive devices along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights Sunday night. In a statement issued Monday by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, he initially said Hezbollah was responsible for the incident, but a correction that his office sent out moments later omitted any reference to the Lebanese group, and only referred to “terrorists.” Iran has used other similar local groups and Shi’ite militia members, who were sent to Syria to aid the Assad regime in the civil war, for similar purposes in the past. If it were indeed an Iranian-backed unit behind the incident, then it was probably a response to a series of recent airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria attributed to Israel. (Haaretz)

07-31-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country will not negotiate with the United States because America would only use talks for propaganda purposes.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday his country will not negotiate with the United States because America would only use talks for propaganda purposes. The Trump administration has said it is willing to talk with Iran “with no preconditions,” but that the U.S. will continue its campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic. In a televise speech marking the Eid al-Adha holiday, Khamenei said President Donald Trump would benefit from talks, saying Trump wants to “use negotiations with us for propaganda like negotiations with North Korea.” Khamenei was referring to talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong un. (Associated Press)

07-30-2020
Military

Iran claims to have used its first military satellite—the launch of which was condemned by President Donald Trump's administration—to publish detailed images of a U.S. air base in Qatar, according to state media.

Iran claims to have used its first military satellite—the launch of which was condemned by President Donald Trump's administration—to publish detailed images of a U.S. air base in Qatar, according to state media. The state-backed Press TV channel reported Wednesday that Iran's Nour-1 satellite—operated by the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRCG)—took photos of the Al Udeid air base in Qatar, which hosts the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command and the headquarters of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Press TV said the images covered the "full expanse" of the base, which it said hosts some 13,000 "terrorist" troops. Tehran has classified all U.S. forces as terrorists in retaliation for the Trump administration designating the IRGC a terrorist organization last year. (Newsweek)

07-29-2020
Military

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles as part of an exercise involving a mock-up American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, highlighting its network of subterranean missile sites.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles Wednesday as part of an exercise involving a mock-up American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, highlighting its network of subterranean missile sites. Although state television documentaries have focused on operations at underground bases, all have avoided showing geographic details revealing their locations. Wednesday’s launch from what appears to be central Iran’s desert plateau may have changed that amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S. over its tattered nuclear deal with world powers and as economic pressures grow. “We have carried out the launch of ballistic missiles from the depths of the earth for the first time,” Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guard’s aerospace division, told state TV. “That means without utilizing conventional launchpads, the buried missiles suddenly rip out of the earth and hit their targets precisely.” (Associated Press)

07-29-2020
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary has blocked the bank account of prominent imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in a move aimed at adding pressure on her and her family.

Iran’s judiciary has blocked the bank account of prominent imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in a move aimed at adding pressure on her and her family. Speaking to the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on July 27, Sotoudeh’s husband, Reza Khandan, said his wife's bank account with Pasargad Bank in Tehran has been blocked since May on the orders of the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office. Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was sentenced last year to 38 years in prison over her defense of political prisoners, including women protesting the compulsory hijab law. Sotoudeh was also jailed from 2010 to 2013 over her human rights work. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

07-29-2020
Human Rights

A British-Australian academic serving a 10-year sentence for espionage in Iran has been moved to a notorious prison where concerns for her well-being have escalated, the Australian government confirmed.

A British-Australian academic serving a 10-year sentence for espionage in Iran has been moved to a notorious prison where concerns for her well-being have escalated, the Australian government confirmed Wednesday. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison in September 2018. She had been arrested at Tehran airport while trying to leave the country after attending an academic conference. Iran told Australia that Moore-Gilbert had been recently moved to Qarchak Prison east of Tehran, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement. (Associated Press)

07-28-2020
Military

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched missiles targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched missiles Tuesday targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a drill that included such a barrage of fire the U.S. military temporarily put two regional bases in the Mideast on alert amid tensions between the two countries. The drill — and the American response to it — underlined the lingering threat of military conflict between Iran and the U.S. after a series of escalating incidents last year led to an American drone strike killing a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Tehran responded to that strike by firing ballistic missiles that wounded dozens of American forces in Iraq. While the coronavirus pandemic has engulfed both Iran and the U.S. for months, there has been a growing confrontation as America argues to extend a yearslong U.N. weapons embargo on Tehran that is due to expire in October. A recent incident over Syria involving an American jet fighter approaching an Iranian passenger plane also has renewed tensions. Iranian commandos fast-roped down from a helicopter onto the replica in the footage aired Tuesday from the exercise called “Great Prophet 14.” Anti-aircraft guns opened fire on a target drone near the port city of Bandar Abbas. (Associated Press)

07-28-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that he turned down around 23 requests for talks after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that he turned down around 23 requests for talks after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Addressing a meeting of Iranian officials, he said that over the past two years and three months he received 23 requests to meet US officials. "We did not hesitate to negotiate, but we are not looking for a show," he added, reported IRNA. Lifting the sanctions is not a precondition but a reality, the president said, adding that they are putting pressure on the Iranian people, not just the government, describing the sanctions as “economic terrorism.” (Asharq Al-Awsat)

07-27-2020
Terrorism

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon escalated as Israeli forces repelled what security officials described as a border infiltration with heavy shelling in a clash that had both sides on high alert.

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon escalated Monday as Israeli forces repelled what security officials described as a border infiltration with heavy shelling in a clash that had both sides on high alert.Hezbollah, which is known for claiming responsibility for its actions, denied launching an operation against Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused its patron, Iran, of stoking the unrest by "entrenching its military in our region." In a televised address, Netanyahu said Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah was "embroiling Lebanon" at the behest of Iran. (Washington Post)

07-22-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeated threats to further retaliate against the U.S. for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeated threats to further retaliate against the U.S. for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani. The ayatollah met with new Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran on Tuesday and vowed to deliver a "counter blow" to the U.S. for the drone strike that killed Soleimani in Baghdad in January. Khamenei also warned Kadhimi that U.S. presence in Iraq would only bring the country more destruction and corruption. (Newsweek)

07-21-2020
Terrorism

Israel has reportedly thwarted a terrorist plot to kidnap of one of its soldiers, a plan its security services say was masterminded by Iran and Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.

Israel has reportedly thwarted a terrorist plot to kidnap of one of its soldiers, a plan its security services say was masterminded by Iran and Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah. The cell was intercepted and 10 members were arrested, the Shin Bet domestic security agency said. It said it believed the plot was meant to obtain leverage for the release of jailed Palestinians. The Shin Bet said the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, or PFLP, was to carry out the plot in the occupied West Bank. (The National)

07-20-2020
Human Rights

An Iranian convicted of spying for U.S. and Israeli intelligence was executed, according to Iran’s official IRIB news agency.

An Iranian convicted of spying for U.S. and Israeli intelligence was executed on Monday, according to Iran’s official IRIB news agency.  Last month, the judiciary said Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, who was arrested in 2018, had spied on former Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani, adding, however, that the case was not connected to Soleimani’s killing earlier this year. … A report aired on Iranian state TV on Monday included footage of Mousavi-Majd talking about meeting with contacts from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Israel’s Mossad as well as audio of an alleged conversation between him and a CIA agent in English. (Reuters)

07-17-2020
Human Rights

Police dispersed protesters in southwestern Iran angry over the Islamic Republic’s anemic economy amid a U.S. sanctions campaign, a news report said, and internet access to the wider region was disrupted as demonstrators shared videos of the rally.

Police dispersed protesters in southwestern Iran angry over the Islamic Republic’s anemic economy amid a U.S. sanctions campaign, a news report said on Friday, and internet access to the wider region was disrupted as demonstrators shared videos of the rally. Internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks.org reported the disruption affecting Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province late Thursday. The outage coincided with videos being published online of protesters gathering in the city of Behbahan, some 570 kilometers (355 miles) southwest of the capital, Tehran. Those videos showed demonstrators chanting slogans heard at other protests in Iran over the last year, including: “Don’t be afraid, we are all together.” Others targeted Iran’s foreign policy, shouting: “No Gaza, no Lebanon, I will die for Iran.” (Associated Press)

07-16-2020
Terrorism

A leak from a suspected Iranian hacker crew has revealed just how it’s snooping on American officials’ online lives by taking control of their Google accounts, according to IBM researchers.

A leak from a suspected Iranian hacker crew has revealed just how it’s snooping on American officials’ online lives by taking control of their Google accounts, according to IBM researchers. The same hackers have reportedly been linked with attacks on President Trump's campaign staff, according to an IBM report shared with Forbes. The 40 gigabyte leak was discovered in May by IBM X-Force IRIS, a cyber intelligence unit within the tech giant. A simple misconfiguration of a server had left the data wide open to anyone who could find the relevant web address. The most revealing information came in the form of training videos, one of which showed how the hackers, dubbed ITG18 (though more widely referred to as Charming Kitten), had breached the Google account of a U.S. Navy official.  There was also evidence of failed phishing attempts targeting the personal accounts of an Iranian-American philanthropist and officials of the U.S. State Department, including one associated with the U.S. Virtual Embassy to Iran. And the leak uncloaked a number of fake online personas that the hackers were using to to target persons of interest, with one other victim being a member of Greece’s Hellenic Navy. (Forbes)

07-16-2020
Nuclear Program

The Chief of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned Iran of "bad" consequences if access is not granted by the end of July to two sites where undeclared nuclear activities may have taken place in the past.

The Chief of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Wednesday warned Iran of "bad" consequences if access is not granted by the end of July to two sites where undeclared nuclear activities may have taken place in the past. “I keep insisting on the absolute necessity for us to resolve this issue very soon,” Rafael Mariano Grossi was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying. He also pointed out that the issue was not going to just go away and urged Iran again to provide IAEA investigators access to the disputed sites. In a June report IAEA said Iran had not provided access to the two sites for four months. Subsequently, on June 19 the IAEA passed a resolution proposed by the European sides of the 2015 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) against Iran. (Radio Farda)

07-15-2020
Extremism

Iran’s head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani, slammed the US and Israel and said both countries would be punished and that only “difficult” days are ahead.

Iran’s head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani, slammed the US and Israel and said both countries would be punished and that only “difficult” days are ahead. He praised a fire aboard a US ship, the USS Bonhomme Richard, as divine punishment. “America lit a fire and today is on fire,” he said. Ghaani became head of the Quds Force after the US killed Qasem Soleimani in January. Soleimani was one of Iran’s most well-known commanders, responsible for supporting Iran’s actions from Lebanon to Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Iran has vowed revenge since his killing. (Jerusalem Post)

07-15-2020
Human Rights

Iranians from all walks of life — teachers, doctors, designers, cooks, actors, directors, artists, homemakers, bloggers — have taken to social media with a message for the government: Stop the executions.

Iranians from all walks of life — teachers, doctors, designers, cooks, actors, directors, artists, homemakers, bloggers — have taken to social media with a message for the government: Stop the executions. The online campaign, which took place on Tuesday and which analysts said was remarkable for its scope and the breadth of its support, was in response to the judiciary’s announcement earlier in the day that it had upheld the death sentences of three young men who joined antigovernment protests in November. Iran put 251 people to death last year, more than any country but China, according to Amnesty International. In recent weeks, many Iranians have been rattled by a series of executions based on murky charges, from drinking alcohol to political activism to allegedly spying for the C.I.A. (New York Times)

07-14-2020
Human Rights

Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that Iran has executed two Kurdish prisoners in the central prison of Urumiyeh despite pleas from various rights organizations to drop the death penalty.

Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) reported that Iran has executed two Kurdish prisoners in the central prison of Urumiyeh in the early morning hours of Tuesday despite pleas from various rights organizations to drop the death penalty. The two prisoners, Diako Rasoulzadeh and Saber Sheikh-Abdollah who were sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court in Mahabad for "enmity against God" and being members of Komala, were transferred to solitary cells on Monday in preparation for their execution. Komala is a banned Kurdish political party. Amnesty International had called on Iranian authorities to immediately stop the execution of the two prisoners in a tweet on its Persian-language account only hours before the execution and urged them to allow a fair trial not based on forced confessions as evidence. (Radio Farda)

07-14-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran has executed a former employee of the defense ministry who was convicted of spying on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency, the country’s judiciary said.

Iran has executed a former employee of the defense ministry who was convicted of spying on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency, the country’s judiciary said Tuesday. It was the second such execution in the past month. The report said Reza Asgari was executed last week. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said Asgari had worked in the airspace department of the ministry and retired in 2016. “In the last years of his service, he joined the CIA, he sold information about our missiles ... to the CIA and took money from them,” Esmaili said. “He was identified, tried and sentenced to death.” (Associated Press)

07-14-2020
Human Rights

Human rights groups say Iran’s decision to uphold and schedule the execution of three protesters is unfair and should be repealed.

Human rights groups say Iran’s decision to uphold and schedule the execution of three protesters is unfair and should be repealed. Iran's judiciary announced on Tuesday that a court had upheld death sentences for three people linked to deadly protests last November. It is the first statement by Tehran on the trial of protesters Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi. The sentences were "confirmed by the Supreme Court after the defendants and their attorneys appealed", spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told the judiciary's Mizan Online website. (The National)

07-10-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran’s military chief has signed an agreement with Syria’s president to reinforce Syria’s air defense systems as part of a military cooperation agreement, Iranian state TV reported.

Iran’s military chief has signed an agreement with Syria’s president to reinforce Syria’s air defense systems as part of a military cooperation agreement, Iranian state TV reported Friday. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, met with Syria President Bashar Assad during his second visit to Syria since 2019. Assad said the agreement signed by both sides is the result of “years of cooperation for confronting terrorism” in Syria. (Associated Press)

07-08-2020
Syria Conflict

A powerful Iran-backed militia said there would be “escalation” if Iraq’s prime minister continues to clamp down on armed groups, as tensions spiked following the killing of a prominent analyst, pitting the state against rogue elements.

A powerful Iran-backed militia said Wednesday there would be “escalation” if Iraq’s prime minister continues to clamp down on armed groups, as tensions spiked following the killing of a prominent analyst, pitting the state against rogue elements. Hostilities have flared as Iraq reels from the assassination of Hisham al-Hashimi, 47, who was gunned down by unknown assailants on motorbikes outside his Baghdad home Monday. He had received death threats from the Islamic State group and Iran-backed militia groups. Al-Hashimi’s killers are still unknown but many point to the timing of the assassination, coming just two weeks after a raid on the headquarters of the Kataib Hezbollah militia south of Baghdad. They speculate al-Hashimi may have fallen victim to escalating tensions between the government and militia groups. Days before his death a study he wrote on the inner workings of Iran-backed militia groups in Iraq was published. (Associated Press)

07-08-2020
Syria Conflict

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that U.S. and partner forces seized a boat in June carrying Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen as he renewed his call for the U.N. Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that U.S. and partner forces seized a boat in June carrying Iranian weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen as he renewed his call for the U.N. Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran. “The Security Council must extend the arms embargo on Iran to prevent further conflict in the region,” Pompeo told a State Department news conference. “No serious person can possibly believe Iran will use any weapon it receives for peaceful ends.” Pompeo is leading a U.S. drive to persuade the Security Council to extend the embargo due to expire in mid-October under the terms of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which the United States withdrew in 2018. (Reuters)

07-05-2020
Anti-Americanism

An Iranian conglomerate owned by the country’s military and tied to its missile program has established a retail foothold in Venezuela, according to officials and records detailing the move, deepening Tehran’s involvement with the Maduro government.

An Iranian conglomerate owned by the country’s military and tied to its missile program has established a retail foothold in Venezuela, according to officials and records detailing the move, deepening Tehran’s involvement with the Maduro government. The Iranian firm is working with the Maduro government’s troubled emergency food program, which is the subject of U.S. enforcement action as an alleged money-laundering operation, compounding U.S. concerns regarding the move. The arrival of the company, which also has ties to Iran’s elite military Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, designated by the U.S. as a terror organization, bolsters Tehran’s foothold in the Western Hemisphere and comes as Venezuela increasingly seeks assistance from U.S. foes, including petroleum from Iran and energy-industry assistance from Russia. (Wall Street Journal)

07-01-2020
Syria Conflict

A new UN report has confirmed Iran’s role in the attack on Saudi Aramco facilities last September.

A new UN report has confirmed Iran’s role in the attack on Saudi Aramco facilities last September. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres presented the report to the Security Council in a video conference on Tuesday. The report comes with the Iran arms embargo set to expire on Oct. 18, 2020. Guterres told the council that the report highlights the Iranian regime’s aggressive approach in destabilizing the region through military and financial support of armed militias in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. (Arab News)

06-30-2020
Human Rights

Iran has sentenced to death a journalist whose online work helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017.

Iran has sentenced to death a journalist whose online work helped inspire nationwide economic protests in 2017. Ruhollah Zam had returned to Iran under unclear circumstances and was subsequently arrested. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced Zam’s sentence on Tuesday. Zam had run a website called AmadNews that posted embarrassing videos and information about Iranian officials. He had been living and working in exile in Paris before being convinced into returning to Iran, where he was arrested in October 2019. Zam later appeared in televised confessions, where he offered an apology for his past activities. (Associated Press)

06-30-2020
Terrorism

Hezbollah in Lebanon is trying to recruit Israeli civilians to carry out terrorist activities, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Hezbollah in Lebanon is trying to recruit Israeli civilians to carry out terrorist activities, according to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). The Hezbollah cell, as well as the identity of Hezbollah detainees and recruits, was discovered following the June 6 arrest of two Israeli civilians from the northern Arab town of Majd el-Kurum and their subsequent interrogation by the Shin Bet. The investigation found that Beirut Hamud, a female Israeli citizen from Majd el-Kurum and currently living in Lebanon with her husband, Bilal Bizari, has been operating on behalf of Hezbollah, a Shi’ite terrorist organization. Hamud and Bizari work for Al-Ahkbar newspaper, which is affiliated with Hezbollah. As part of their work for Hezbollah, she and her husband recruit Israelis, the Shin Bet said. (Jerusalem Post)

06-30-2020
Human Rights

Female human rights activists imprisoned in Iran are facing a slew of new charges to prevent them from being temporarily released because of the Covid-19 epidemic, rights groups say.

Female human rights activists imprisoned in Iran are facing a slew of new charges to prevent them from being temporarily released because of the Covid-19 epidemic, rights groups say. Since Covid-19 spread rapidly through the country in early March, Iranian authorities have been under pressure to release all prisoners who pose no risk to society. Around 85,000 prisoners were temporarily released under a furlough scheme earlier this year in response to the coronavirus outbreak, half of whom were believed to be political detainees. Yet dozens of women’s rights activists remain in prisons across the country, with groups including the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) accusing authorities of deliberately rendering them ineligible for release by bringing new charges. Those considered “security prisoners” with sentences of more than five years were automatically denied furlough. (The Guardian)

06-29-2020
Politics

Heated debates during last week's parliament meeting in Tehran are fueling concerns among millions of Iranians that the newly elected conservative lawmakers are prioritizing restrictions on social media over more urgent economic woes.

Heated debates during last week's parliament meeting in Tehran are fueling concerns among millions of Iranians that the newly elected conservative lawmakers are prioritizing restrictions on social media over more urgent economic woes, which they had promised to address upon taking their seats. The session saw Iran’s young Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi cornered and grilled by powerful hard-line parliamentarians, including the speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf. In their ferocious attacks, the lawmakers particularly took aim at the popular social media platform Instagram, which is being used by an estimated half of the population in a country of 84 million. “It has turned into the killing ground of the religious convictions of our young generation,” ultraconservative lawmaker Mousa Ghazanfarabadi said of Instagram, the only Western social media network to so far survive the Islamic Republic’s strict bans. Ghazanfarabadi also blamed the app for the “disintegration of many Iranian families.” For his part, Ghalibaf squeezed the minister for failing to introduce regulatory policies into Iran’s cyberspace, which he said is plagued by “disinhibition” and lax rules. (Al-Monitor)

06-29-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said, according to the Fars news agency.

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday, according to the Fars news agency. The United States and Interpol both dismissed the idea of acting on such a warrant. The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region. Alqasimehr said the warrants had been issued on charges of murder and terrorist action. He said Iran had asked Interpol to issue a “red notice” seeking the arrest of Trump and the other individuals the Islamic Republic accuses of taking part in the killing of Soleimani. (Reuters)

06-29-2020
Human Rights

An Iranian who spied for U.S. and Israeli intelligence on slain Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani has been sentenced to death, Iran said, adding the case was not linked to Soleimani’s killing earlier this year.

An Iranian who spied for U.S. and Israeli intelligence on slain Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani has been sentenced to death, Iran said on Tuesday, adding the case was not linked to Soleimani’s killing earlier this year. On Jan. 3, a U.S. drone strike in Iraq killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region. “Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, one of the spies for the CIA and the Mossad, has been sentenced to death ... He had shared information about the whereabouts of martyr Soleimani with our enemies,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said in a televised news conference. (Reuters)

06-27-2020
Human Rights

The Head of the Justice Department of Isfahan Province said eight individuals have been sentenced for "corruption on earth", a charge carrying the death sentence according to Iran's Islamic Penal Code.

The Head of the Justice Department of Isfahan Province on Friday said eight individuals have been sentenced for "corruption on earth", a charge carrying the death sentence according to Iran's Islamic Penal Code. Mohammad-Reza Habibi who was speaking at a Friday prayer sermon did not mention any details about these cases or which protests the defendants had participated in but said: "We will be decisive against mercenaries and rioters if crimes are committed like what happened in 2009, 2017 and last November [when protests broke out across the country]" and added that eight trials have finished and those involved have been sentenced for corruption on earth". Habibi's remarks came only a few days after reports said three young men were sentenced to death for participating in the nationwide protests in November 2019 in Tehran. The death sentences passed by the Revolutionary Court have reportedly been upheld by the Supreme Court. The Judiciary, however, has not yet officially announced the sentences. (Radio Farda)

06-26-2020
Terrorism

A court in Denmark sentenced on Friday a 40-year-old Norwegian man of Iranian descent to seven years in prison after he was found guilty of spying for Iran and being accessory to attempts to commit murder on Danish soil.

A court in Denmark sentenced on Friday a 40-year-old Norwegian man of Iranian descent to seven years in prison after he was found guilty of spying for Iran and being accessory to attempts to commit murder on Danish soil. The man, who was not identified by the court, “collected information about an exiled Iranian in Denmark” during the period of Sept. 25-27, 2018. The Roskilde city court said it was “proven” that the information was handed over to a person working for an unnamed Iranian intelligence service. It added that online chats between the defendant and the person working for the Iranian intelligence service “weighed in” as evidence. (AP)

06-26-2020
Human Rights

The U.S. State Department said that Iran will remain on tier 3 of the U.S. list of human trafficking because it does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and and is not making significant efforts to do so.

In its latest annual report on human trafficking, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday that Iran will remain on tier 3 of the U.S. list of human trafficking because it does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. In his message in conjunction with the annual report, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for tougher legal action against human traffickers by all governments, as well as increased support for victims, including the establishment of therapy and rehabilitation centers for them. …The third tier on the list includes countries such as Iran that do not comply with minimum standards and do not take action to improve the situation. The third group includes countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, China, Russia, Syria, Algeria, Venezuela, and Cuba. (Radio Farda)

06-26-2020
Extremism

Iran’s U.N. ambassador said that he believes a U.S. resolution to extend an arms embargo against his country will be defeated and warned it would be “a very, very big mistake” if the Trump administration then tries to re-impose U.N. sanctions.

Iran’s U.N. ambassador said Thursday that he believes a U.S. resolution to extend an arms embargo against his country will be defeated and warned it would be “a very, very big mistake” if the Trump administration then tries to re-impose U.N. sanctions. Ambassador Majid Ravanchi said restoring U.N. sanctions will end the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers and release Tehran from all its commitments. “If that happens, Iran will not be under constraint as to what course of action it should take,” he said reporters. “All options for Iran will be open.” (AP)

06-25-2020
Terrorism

The Microsoft Threat Protection Intelligence Team has identified a chain of attacks on its cloud service by a group linked to Iran and the Iranian Cyber Army.

The Microsoft Threat Protection Intelligence Team has identified a chain of attacks on its cloud service in a post published on June 18. According to Microsoft the group identified as HOLMIUM” has been performing espionage and destructive attacks targeting aerospace, defense, chemical, mining, and petrochemical-mining industries. Based on previous research by the Fireye the group has been linked to Iran and the Iranian Cyber Army. The attack consisted of sophisticated phishing emails giving the target an impression that the message was legitimate. (Radio Farda)

06-24-2020
Human Rights

Iran Human Rights News Agency (HRANA) reported that the Supreme Court of Iran has upheld the death sentences of three young men who were arrested by security forces during the November 2019 protests.

Iran Human Rights News Agency (HRANA) reported that the Supreme Court of Iran has upheld the death sentences of three young men who were arrested by security forces during the November 2019 protests. The confirmation of the death sentences passed on Amir-Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi, who had all been sentenced to prison, lashes and a death sentence by the Revolutionary Court for various charges brought against them has not been officially announced. However, the lawyer of one of the defendants in the case who did not want to be named for his own safety, has informed HRANA of the Supreme Court's decision. Security forces identified and arrested Amir-Hossein Moradi from CCTV footage during the November 2019 protests. He was beaten during his arrest and interrogations and held in solitary confinement for a month. He was also tortured and coerced to appear on the state-run television to "confess" that he had set fire to banks and gas stations and damaged public property, even before having been tried and sentenced by a court. Moradi and other defendants in the case were denied access to lawyers during the investigation phase. (Radio Farda)

06-24-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologizes for exiting a 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, cautioning that U.S. calls for discussions were insincere.

Iran would be open to talks with the United States if Washington apologises for exiting a 2015 nuclear deal and compensates Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, cautioning that U.S. calls for discussions were insincere. The confrontation between arch foes Tehran and Washington has worsened since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy. Iran has refused to hold any talks with the United States, which is trying to force Tehran to negotiate a new deal, unless Washington lifts sanctions on Tehran and returns to the original agreement. (Reuters)

06-24-2020
Terrorism

The United States called Iran the “foremost state sponsor of terrorism” in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism.

The United States called Iran the “foremost state sponsor of terrorism” in its annual Country Reports on Terrorism. The report, released by the State Department on Wednesday, notes that Iran has continued to funnel money and resources for terrorist operations across the globe, including to groups such as Hezbollah. The report highlights the U.S. “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign and its impact on Iran’s coordination with foreign terrorist organizations. “In the past, Tehran has spent as much as $700 million per year to support terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas, though its ability to provide financial support in 2019 was constrained by crippling U.S. sanctions,” the report reads. (Washington Examiner)

06-24-2020
Military

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, has established a secret facility near the city of Jajarm that has been producing aluminum powder for use in its missile program.

At the edge of the desert in North Khorasan province in northeast Iran, near the country’s largest deposit of bauxite, sits an aluminium production complex that the government has publicly hailed as a key part of its efforts to boost output of the metal. But the site near the city of Jajarm is also home to a secret facility set up by Iran’s elite security force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, that has been producing aluminium powder for use in its missile programme, according to a former Iranian government official and documents relating to the facility he shared with Reuters. Aluminium powder, derived from bauxite, is a key ingredient in solid-fuel propellants used to launch missiles. Iran started producing the powder for military use more than five years ago, according to the former official, who from 2013 until 2018 was head of public relations and also parliamentary affairs envoy in the office of the vice president for executive affairs, which at the time oversaw some economic policies. The ex-official, Amir Moghadam, said he visited the little-known facility twice and that production was continuing when he left Iran in 2018. (Reuters)

06-23-2020
Military

Iran’s Defense Ministry revealed that the country produces 70 percent of the products needed for aircraft and helicopters locally, enabling it to keep building drones and missiles and replacing aircraft, even under tough sanctions.

Iran’s Defense Ministry revealed on Tuesday that the country produces 70 percent of the products needed for aircraft and helicopters locally. This has enabled it to keep building drones and missiles, and replacing aircraft even under tough sanctions. This means that the US maximum pressure campaign can only go so far in breaking Iran when it comes to its export of precision missiles to Hezbollah or drones to Yemen. The recent report was from Fars News in Iran. Iran’s new report specifically mentions missiles, vessels and aerospace, which relate to the arms industry. This includes clandestine programs, and also the ones Iran boasts about, such as the growing drone army it has built to carry out swarm and cruise missile attacks. (Jerusalem Post)

06-23-2020
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia announced that Houthi rebels in Yemen unleashed a ballistic missile and bomb-laden drone attack on various targets in the kingdom, including the cities of Najran and Jizan.

Saudi Arabia announced early on Tuesday that Houthi rebels in Yemen unleashed a ballistic missile and bomb-laden drone attack on various targets in the kingdom, including the cities of Najran and Jizan. According the Saudi statement its air defenses intercepted three ballistic missiles, and eight booby-trapped drones fired from Yemen. It appears that not all drones were intercepted but the statement did not say how many got through and where they might have exploded. Colonel Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the coalition, said in a statement the missiles were targeting civilians. (Radio Farda)

06-23-2020
Military

Iran’s Islamic Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that they plan to set up a permanent base in the Indian Ocean by the end of next March.

Iran’s Islamic Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that they plan to set up a permanent base in the Indian Ocean by the end of next March. “Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tasked the IRGC with permanent presence in waters far away from the country,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said. The IRGC commander said that “pirates and some foreign vessels had, in the past, created disturbances for the Iranian trawlers and dhows in the country’s southern waters.” “Through its powerful presence in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean, the IRGC will no longer leave any room for such acts of infringement,” he added. (The Arab Weekly)

06-19-2020
Human Rights

Iran has withheld confirmation of its apparent recent execution of a Kurdish activist, in the latest example of its long-running practice of secretly executing ethnic minority dissidents.

Iran has withheld confirmation of its apparent recent execution of a Kurdish activist, in the latest example of its long-running practice of secretly executing ethnic minority dissidents. Kurdish activist Hedayat Abdollahpour’s brother Farhad told VOA Persian that their father received a call on June 10 from an official who asserted that Hedayat was executed on or around May 21 in the northwestern town of Oshnavieh. Farhad Abdollahpour, who is based in neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan, reported that the caller said his brother Hedayat had been transferred to Oshnavieh for execution from a prison in Urmia, another northwestern Iranian city where the dissident had been on death row since 2017. He told VOA Persian that his brother’s two lawyers had yet to receive any written confirmation of the apparent execution from Iranian judicial authorities as of Friday. (Voice of America)

06-19-2020
Nuclear Program

International nuclear inspectors and the United States accused Iran of hiding suspected nuclear activity, the first time in more than eight years that Tehran has been accused of obstructing inspections.

International nuclear inspectors and the United States accused Iran on Friday of hiding suspected nuclear activity, the first time in more than eight years that Tehran has been accused of obstructing inspections, paving the way for a new confrontation with Western powers. The accusation came in a resolution passed by the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations watchdog, after its new director general, Rafael Grossi, reported that Iranian officials had repeatedly blocked inspectors and “sanitized” a site they wanted to visit beginning last July. It was the first time that the big European powers — Britain, France and Germany — have sided with the Trump administration on a major Iran issue since splitting with President Trump on his decision more than two years ago to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by the administration of former President Barack Obama. (New York Times)

06-18-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran condemned as inhumane a fresh round of U.S. sanctions against its regional ally Syria and says it will expand its trade ties with Damascus.

Iran condemned as inhumane a fresh round of U.S. sanctions against its regional ally Syria and said it would expand its trade ties with Damascus. The United States on Wednesday imposed its toughest sanctions targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to choke off revenue for his government and force it back to U.N.-led negotiations on ending his country’s war. “As the world is involved with the Corona pandemic, the imposition of such inhumane sanctions will only exacerbate the suffering of the Syrian people,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told state media. “We will continue our economic cooperation with the resilient Syrian nation and Syria’s government, and despite these sanctions, we will strengthen our economic relations with Syria,” Mousavi said. (Reuters)

06-18-2020
Military

Iran says its navy has successfully fired a new locally made cruise missile during war games in the northern Indian Ocean and near the entrance to the Gulf.

Iran said its navy had successfully fired a new locally made cruise missile during war games in the northern Indian Ocean and near the entrance to the Gulf. The test-firing comes as the United States is seeking an extension of a U.N.-imposed arms embargo against Iran, which is due to expire in October under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Washington withdrew from that pact. “During the exercises, short-range and long-range coast-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles were successfully fired from the coast and from decks of ships, hitting their targets with great precision,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. The new generation cruise missiles, with a range of 280 km (175 miles) were tested during exercises by the Iranian navy in the Gulf of Oman, which lies next to the Strait of Hormuz waterway at the mouth of the Gulf, and the northern Indian Ocean, Tasnim said. (Reuters)

06-17-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran has warned the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) against endorsing a draft resolution to push Tehran to allow access for inspectors to two disputed sites over unannounced nuclear activities.

Iran has warned the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) against endorsing a draft resolution to push Tehran to allow access for inspectors to two disputed sites over unannounced nuclear activities. “I note with serious concern that, for over four months, Iran has denied us access to two locations and that, for almost a year, it has not engaged in substantive discussions to clarify our questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities,” said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director-general of the IAEA. “I call on Iran to cooperate immediately and fully with the Agency, including by providing prompt access to the locations specified by us,” said Grossi. Iran's Ambassador to the UN in Vienna Kazem Gharib Abadi stated that "Introduction of this resolution aiming to call on Iran to cooperate with the Agency ... is disappointing and absolutely counterproductive." (Asharq Al-Awsat)

06-16-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran remains hell-bent on developing the deadliest weapons on the planet, according to a damning German intelligence service report released.

Iran remains hell-bent on developing the deadliest weapons on the planet, according to a damning German intelligence service report released. In a section titled “Proliferation,” the 181-page Baden-Württemberg state intelligence agency document reviewed by Fox News states that Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Syria are "still pursuing" such efforts. “They aim to complete existing arsenals, perfect the range, applicability and effectiveness of their weapons and develop new weapon systems,” the report said. “They try to obtain the necessary products and relevant know-how, among other things, through illegal procurement efforts in Germany.” (Fox News)

06-15-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran faces its first formal reprimand by international nuclear monitors in eight years after inspectors complained they haven’t been given access to places that may have hosted atomic activities two decades ago.

Iran faces its first formal reprimand by international nuclear monitors in eight years after inspectors complained they haven’t been given access to places that may have hosted atomic activities two decades ago. The resolution drafted by France, Germany and the U.K. asks Iran to “fully cooperate” with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation, according to a single-page document seen by Bloomberg. It would be the first diplomatic rebuke passed by the board of the Vienna-based agency since 2012, and could set the stage for a new round of escalation over Iran’s nuclear program. “There are areas where our cooperation is ongoing, there are areas where we are in disagreement,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Monday at a press briefing. “It’s a mixed bag. I hope we can do better.” (Bloomberg)

06-14-2020
Nuclear Program

Israeli defense officials believe Iran hasn’t increased the pace of its nuclear enrichment in recent months, but nevertheless could be just two years from producing an atomic weapon, a report said.

Israeli defense officials believe Iran hasn’t increased the pace of its nuclear enrichment in recent months, but nevertheless could be just two years from producing an atomic weapon, a report said Sunday. The Walla news site quoted the unnamed senior officials as saying Jerusalem estimates the Islamic Republic continues to enrich uranium at a four percent level, the same as when the coronavirus crisis hit earlier this year. However, the report said Defense Minister Benny Gantz has been presented with an assessment that Tehran is just six months away from producing all the components of an atomic bomb, and two years away from assembling such a bomb. (Times of Israel)

06-13-2020
Human Rights

In its annual report on religious freedoms, the United States has once again accused Iran of widespread violations of the rights of religious minorities, including Baha'i and Sunni citizens.

In its annual report on religious freedoms, the United States has once again accused Iran of widespread violations of the rights of religious minorities, including Baha'i and Sunni citizens. The report has focused on the Islamic Republic's Constitution which is based on Sharia and paves the way for the heavy punishment of those who have abandoned their Islamic faith for another. The punishment in some cases could be the death penalty. The report has also highlighted the charge of so-called "waging war against God", which, for example, led to "the execution of two Sunni minority prisoners in Fajr prison, in Ahvaz, the capital city of the oil-rich province of Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran. (Radio Farda)

06-12-2020
Anti-Americanism

The spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, Abbas Mousavi tells the United States, “You will soon kneel in front of Iranian Nation”, in a tweet responding to U.S. officials.

The spokesman of Iran’s foreign ministry, Abbas Mousavi tells the United States, “You will soon kneel in front of Iranian Nation”, in a tweet responding to U.S. officials. Abbas Mousavi on Friday tweeted in English attacking statements made recently by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook who had voiced satisfaction about the severe impact of American sanctions on Iran. Mousavi said, “A Govt whose policy is relying on ‘knee on neck’ of either its own people or others around the world should be indeed happy w/#EconomicTerrorism &pressure on the public. But you see that not the Iranians’ neck, but your knee was wrung”. (Radio Farda)

06-12-2020
Syria Conflict

The United Nations says it has determined that Iran was the source for several items in two arms shipments seized by the United States and for debris left by attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations and an international airport.

The United Nations says it has determined that Iran was the source for several items in two arms shipments seized by the United States and for debris left by attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations and an international airport, according to a new report. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said some of the items seized by the U.S. in November 2019 and February 2020 “were identical or similar” to those found after the cruise missiles and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia in 2019. He said in a report to the U.N. Security Council obtained Friday by The Associated Press that some items seized by the U.S. in international waters off Yemen are not only Iranian but may have been transferred “in a manner inconsistent” with the council resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. (AP)

06-09-2020
Syria Conflict

A new breakaway Afghan Taliban faction that has close ties to neighboring Iran and opposes efforts aimed at ending the 18-year insurgency in Afghanistan has emerged.

A new breakaway Afghan Taliban faction that has close ties to neighboring Iran and opposes efforts aimed at ending the 18-year insurgency in Afghanistan has emerged. The Hezb-e Walayat-e Islami, or Party of Islamic Guardianship, is believed to have split from the mainstream Taliban soon after the United States and the militant group signed a landmark peace agreement in February. The formation of the splinter group underlines the possible divisions within the Taliban, which has seen bitter leadership transitions and growing internal dissent in recent years. (Radio Farda)

06-09-2020
Military

The Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills.

As tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S., the Islamic Republic appears to have constructed a new mock-up of an aircraft carrier off its southern coast for potential live-fire drills. The faux foe, seen in satellite photographs obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, resembles the Nimitz-class carriers that the U.S. Navy routinely sails into the Persian Gulf from the Strait of Hormuz, its narrow mouth where 20% of all the world’s oil passes through. While not yet acknowledged by Iranian officials, the replica’s appearance in the port city of Bandar Abbas suggests Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is preparing an encore of a similar mock-sinking it conducted in 2015. It also comes as Iran announced Tuesday it will execute a man it accused of sharing details on the movements of the Guard’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whom the U.S. killed in a January drone strike in Baghdad. (AP)

06-05-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran continued its elevated rate of nuclear-fuel production last quarter, even as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut down swaths of the economy and international inspectors sought answers about previous nuclear activities.

Iran continued its elevated rate of nuclear-fuel production last quarter, even as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut down swaths of the economy and international inspectors sought answers about previous nuclear activities. The country’s store of low-enriched uranium increased to 1,571.6 kilograms (3,465 pounds) over the quarter ending May 20, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency report seen by Bloomberg. That’s more than a 50% jump over the amount stockpiled three months ago, and enough of the heavy metal to create two bombs if Iran chose to enrich the material to weapons grade. “The agency notes with serious concern that” Iran continues to deny access to two sites inspectors want to visit, where nuclear material may have been present in the early 2000s, read a restricted report circulated to diplomats in Vienna. “This is adversely affecting the agency’s ability to clarify and resolve the questions.” (Bloomberg)

06-05-2020
Nuclear Program

The United Nations atomic agency expressed “serious concern” about Iran’s failure to cooperate with its probe into undeclared nuclear material in the country, adding to calls from opponents of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran to kill off that agreement.

The United Nations atomic agency expressed “serious concern” Friday about Iran’s failure to cooperate with its probe into undeclared nuclear material in the country, adding to calls from opponents of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran to kill off that agreement. In two reports sent to member states by the International Atomic Energy Agency, viewed by The Wall Street Journal, the Vienna-based organization said Iran had failed to give its inspectors access to two sites the agency wanted to visit. The agency also said Iran didn’t answer questions about the use of possible undeclared nuclear material in the early 2000s and what had happened to it since. The agency recorded another big jump in Iran’s nuclear-fuel stockpile, far above the levels permitted under the 2015 pact. Iran has reduced its compliance with the nuclear deal in response to sweeping U.S. sanctions. The Trump administration has called for its European allies—Britain, France and Germany—to exit from the agreement and work with Washington on a new tougher accord with Tehran. (Wall Street Journal)

06-04-2020
Terrorism

Chinese and Iranian government hackers have targeted the Gmail accounts of staffers working on the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and President Trump, respectively, Google announced.

Chinese and Iranian government hackers have targeted the Gmail accounts of staffers working on the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and President Trump, respectively, Google announced Thursday. There were no signs the accounts were compromised, a Google threat analyst said in a tweet Thursday, and law enforcement was notified. The disclosure is a fresh reminder that nation states are actively seeking to gain access to presidential campaigns — a practice that has taken place in every presidential election dating back more than a decade. (Washington Post)

06-01-2020
Terrorism

Iran tried to increase chlorine levels in the water flowing to residential areas during April’s cyberattack against Israel’s water systems, a Western intelligence official has told the Financial Times.

Iran tried to increase chlorine levels in the water flowing to residential areas during April’s cyberattack against Israel’s water systems, a Western intelligence official has told the Financial Times. The official told the British newspaper in a report published Monday that hundreds of people would have been at risk of getting sick and that the attack was close to being successful. The head of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate hinted last week that the attack may have aimed to mix chlorine or other chemicals into the water supply. (Times of Israel)

06-01-2020
Extremism

Iran will continue fuel shipments to Venezuela if Caracas requests more supplies, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said, despite Washington’s criticism of the trade between the two nations, which are both under U.S. sanctions.

Iran will continue fuel shipments to Venezuela if Caracas requests more supplies, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, despite Washington’s criticism of the trade between the two nations, which are both under U.S. sanctions. “Iran practises its free trade rights with Venezuela and we are ready to send more ships if Caracas demands more supplies from Iran,” Abbas Mousavi told a weekly news conference broadcast live on state TV. Defying U.S. threats, Iran has sent a flotilla of five tankers of fuel to the South American oil-producing nation, which is suffering from a gasoline shortage. (Reuters)

06-01-2020
Human Rights

The Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Workers, an independent labor group, reported that one of its members, Rasoul Taleb Moghaddam, was arrested to be punished by 74 lashes.

The Syndicate of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company Workers, an independent labor group, reported on Monday, June 1 that one of its members, Rasoul Taleb Moghaddam, was arrested to be punished by 74 lashes. Taleb Moghaddam, who was among dozens arrested on the International Labor Day, May 1, 2019, in Tehran, surrendered himself at Tehran's notorious Evin prison on Monday. Before surrendering, Taleb Moghaddam was repeatedly threatened to either report to law enforcement or have his bail confiscated. (Radio Farda)

05-28-2020
Politics

Iran’s parliament elected a former mayor of Tehran tied to the Revolutionary Guard as its next speaker Thursday, solidifying hard-line control of the body as tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic remain high over its collapsed nuclear deal.

Iran’s parliament elected a former mayor of Tehran tied to the Revolutionary Guard as its next speaker Thursday, solidifying hard-line control of the body as tensions between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic remain high over its collapsed nuclear deal. Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf’s assumption of power comes after a string of failed presidential bids and 12 years as the leader of Iran’s capital city, in which he built onto Tehran’s subway and supported the construction of modern high-rises. Many, however, remember Qalibaf for his support as a Revolutionary Guard general for a violent crackdown on Iranian university students in 1999. He also reportedly ordered live gunfire be used against Iranian students in 2003 while serving as the country’s police chief. (AP)

05-28-2020
Military

Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned the United States against its naval presence in the Gulf as they received 110 new combat vessels.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Thursday warned the United States against its naval presence in the Gulf as they received 110 new combat vessels. The vessels included Ashura-class speedboats, Zolfaghar coastal patrol boats and Taregh submarines, state television reported. "We announce today that wherever the Americans are, we are right next to them, and they will feel our presence even more in the near future," the Guards' navy chief Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said during a ceremony in southern Iran. (AFP)

05-26-2020
Human Rights

In a voice recording sent from Qarchak prison Soheila Hejab, a political and civil rights activist, has said that agents of the Revolutionary Guard brutalized and arrested her after attending an appeals court hearing.

In a voice recording sent from Qarchak prison Soheila Hejab, a political and civil rights activist, has said that agents of the Revolutionary Guard brutalized and arrested her after attending an appeals court hearing on Saturday. In her message, the activist says her assailants held her by her hair, dragged her on the ground and kicked her before taking her to the notorious Qarchak prison. According to Ms. Hejab her Revolutionary Guard interrogator has repeatedly threatened to have her killed by dangerous criminals in prison. (Radio Farda)

05-24-2020
Terrorism

Iran has been accused of using a “sophisticated state-sponsored program” of cyber disinformation to identify and arrest supporters of a London-based Persian-language news outlet.

Iran has been accused of using a “sophisticated state-sponsored program” of cyber disinformation to identify and arrest supporters of a London-based Persian-language news outlet. Iran International has been targeted by cybercriminals, thought to be working for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who have made replicas of the channel’s social media accounts and their most popular reporters. Mahmood Enayat, general manager at Iran International, said this is an attempt to identify and arrest the channel’s supporters in the country. (Arab News)

05-22-2020
Extremism

In a televised speech to mark Quds Day, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, reading from a prepared script, compared Israel to a “cancerous tumor in the region” that must be removed.

For the past four decades, on the last Friday of Ramadan, supporters of Iran’s government have marched to denounce Israel. They burn Israel’s flag. They mock effigies of the leaders of Israel and of its patron, the United States. They chant pledges to liberate Jerusalem, or Quds, as the city is known in Arabic. But the coronavirus pandemic forced Iran to cancel its annual Quds Day parade on Friday. Instead, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivered a televised speech, compensating in rhetoric for the silence in the streets. Mr. Khamenei, reading from a prepared script, compared Israel to a “cancerous tumor in the region” that must be removed and to the coronavirus as “a reality that all wise people consider it mandatory to fight.” (New York Times)

05-20-2020
Human Rights

A court of appeals in Tehran has upheld the verdict against ten citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for reportedly supporting monarchy.

A court of appeals in Tehran has upheld the verdict against ten citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for reportedly supporting monarchy. Documents exclusively received by Radio Farda shows some details of the legal case and the names of the convicted individuals who have been sentenced to a total of 100 years and four months. Speaking to Radio Farda, a human rights activist Haroun Askari who recently left Iran for Turkey said, the suspects were initially sentenced by the notorious hardliner Judge Abolqassem Salavati in Branch 15 of Tehran's "Revolutionary Court". The verdict was upheld by Branch 36 of the same court. (Radio Farda)

05-20-2020
Extremism

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Khamenei published an antisemitic poster evoking Nazi Germany’s “final solution” that destroyed European Jewry, in order to advance Tehran's quest to abolish Israel.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Khamenei published an antisemitic poster on Tuesday evoking Nazi Germany’s “final solution” that destroyed European Jewry, in order to advance Tehran's quest to abolish Israel. The poster’s language reads: "Palestine will be free. The final solution. Resistance is referendum." Khamenei displayed the antisemitic poster in English, Farsi and Arabic on his official homepage. (Jerusalem Post)

05-20-2020
Extremism

Iran will support any nation or group that fights Israel, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, ahead of this week’s annual observance of Quds (Jerusalem) Day to express support for Palestinians.

Iran will support any nation or group that fights Israel, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday, ahead of this week’s annual observance of Quds (Jerusalem) Day to express support for Palestinians. “We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this,” Khamenei said in a post on his official English-language Twitter account. Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy in the Middle East, has been a key supporter, along with Russia, of President Bashar al-Assad during Syria’s civil war, sending military advisers as well as material and regional Shi’ite militias. (Reuters)

05-20-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran has spent about $30 billion in Syria since the start of the civil war in the country in 2011, said a prominent Iranian lawmaker in rare remarks about Tehran’s spending in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Iran has spent about $30 billion in Syria since the start of the civil war in the country in 2011, said a prominent Iranian lawmaker in rare remarks about Tehran’s spending in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. “We have probably paid $20-30 billion to Syria, and we have to take that money back,” Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the Iranian parliament's national security committee, said in an interview with the state-run news website Etemad Online. Falahatpisheh did not elaborate on how Tehran plans to get its money back from Syria. (Al-Arabiya)

05-19-2020
Extremism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani approved a resolution by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to launch a new award named after slain military commander Qassem Soleimani, who was targeted by a US airstrike last January.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani approved a resolution by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution to launch a new award named after slain military commander Qassem Soleimani, who was targeted by a US airstrike last January. The award is granted in the main category of "struggle and resistance" and six sub-fields of "people and society", "culture and art", "politics", "education and research", "media", and "sports". A 19-member body would oversee the award to be held biennially. The body consists of representatives from militias and factions allied with Tehran including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine Jihad, and Houthis. It also includes, inter alia, the Islamic Republic's Foreign Minister, and the head of the state-run Radio and Television Organization. (Asharq AlAwsat)

05-19-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran is refuting reports that it's reducing its presence in Syria and said it is seeking to bolster its ties with neighboring Iraq as the Islamic Republic pushes forward with a plan to expel the United States from the Middle East.

Iran is refuting reports that it's reducing its presence in Syria and said it is seeking to bolster its ties with neighboring Iraq as the Islamic Republic pushes forward with a plan to expel the United States from the Middle East. Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency cited who they said was a well-informed official Tuesday who denied outgoing Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennet's claim a day earlier that Iran "has begun the withdrawal process from Syria." His remarks followed reports earlier this month by other Israeli officials who argued Iran was gradually pulling out of the country, although Tehran disputed this. "There has been no change in the quantity and quality of Iran's advisory presence in Syria," the unnamed official told Fars News Agency. "We will stay in Syria as long as the Syrian government needs the help of the Iranian advisers." (Newsweek)

05-13-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran is building a new tunnel at the Imam Ali military base in Eastern Syria capable of storing advanced weapons systems, according to satellite images and analysis obtained by Fox News.

Iran is building a new tunnel at the Imam Ali military base in Eastern Syria capable of storing advanced weapons systems, according to satellite images and analysis obtained by Fox News. Images captured on May 12 show bulldozers at the entrance of the structure that is estimated to be around 15 feet wide. Satellite shots from April 1 show an excavator and bulldozers near where the new construction took place. (Fox News)

05-12-2020
Extremism

The Iranian parliament approved a bill including a list of measures against the State of Israel, such as the establishment of an Iranian consulate or embassy in Jerusalem to 'Palestine.'

The Iranian parliament approved a bill on Tuesday including a list of measures against the State of Israel, such as the establishment of an Iranian consulate or embassy in Jerusalem to 'Palestine,' boycott measures and bans on contact and agreements between Iran and Israel. The bill, featuring 14 articles, passed with 43 votes in favor and no votes against, according to the Iranian IRNA news agency. MPs chanted "down with Israel" after the bill was approved, according to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar news. The bill will be brought before the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee so that the parliament can vote on the law at the beginning of next week. (Jerusalem Post)

05-12-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran’s progress towards a possible nuclear weapon has continued unaffected by the Covid-19 outbreak, satellite imagery has shown.

Iran’s progress towards a possible nuclear weapon has continued unaffected by the Covid-19 outbreak, satellite imagery has shown. The commercially available footage of four Iranian facilities, analysed by Jane’s intelligence, showed Iran’s nuclear activity has not slowed during the pandemic. The activity and launch at the Shahrud Missile Test Complex in particular indicated that Iran’s missile and space programmes remained largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Jane’s. (The National)

05-08-2020
Terrorism

Hackers linked to Iran have targeted staff at U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc.

Hackers linked to Iran have targeted staff at U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc in recent weeks, according to publicly-available web archives reviewed by Reuters and three cybersecurity researchers, as the company races to deploy a treatment for the COVID-19 virus. In one case, a fake email login page designed to steal passwords was sent in April to a top Gilead executive involved in legal and corporate affairs, according to an archived version on a website used to scan for malicious web addresses. Reuters was not able to determine whether the attack was successful. Ohad Zaidenberg, lead intelligence researcher at Israeli cybersecurity firm ClearSky, who closely tracks Iranian hacking activity and has investigated the attacks, said the attempt was part of an effort by an Iranian group to compromise email accounts of staff at the company using messages that impersonated journalists. (Reuters)

05-08-2020
Terrorism

Iran is being linked to an attempted cyberattack last month that authorities believe was aimed at disrupting water supplies in at least two locations in Israel as that country was seeking to contain a covid-19 outbreak.

Iran is being linked to an attempted cyberattack last month that authorities believe was aimed at disrupting water supplies in at least two locations in Israel as that country was seeking to contain a covid-19 outbreak, according to foreign intelligence officials familiar with the matter. The incident, which occurred on April 24 and 25, was quickly detected and thwarted before it could cause damage. But Israeli officials and analysts fear that it could signal a further escalation in hostilities between the two countries and that Iran is getting bolder in its efforts to sabotage key systems.  “Cyberattacks that intentionally damage critical infrastructure shouldn’t be condoned,” said a senior Trump administration official, who declined to discuss any specific incident and who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity. “We think they’re very destabilizing.” (Washington Post)

05-08-2020
Human Rights

Afghanistan has recovered 18 bodies of migrants who were allegedly beaten and tortured before being forced into a river by Iranian border guards last week, a senior Afghan official said.

Afghanistan has recovered 18 bodies of migrants who were allegedly beaten and tortured before being forced into a river by Iranian border guards last week, a senior Afghan official said on Friday. Afghan authorities are investigating claims the migrants drowned while illegally crossing into neighbouring Iran from the western Herat province. "Out of 55 Afghan migrants who were forced into the river, we have so far recovered 18 bodies," Abdul Ghani Noori, the governor of Gulran district bordering Iran, told AFP news agency. (Al Jazeera)

05-06-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened a “crushing response” if the United States goes ahead with plans to extend an embargo on Iranian trade of conventional arms, which the United Nations is set to lift later this year.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened a “crushing response” on Wednesday if the United States goes ahead with plans to extend an embargo on Iranian trade of conventional arms, which the United Nations is set to lift later this year. Under Iran’s deal with world powers to accept limits to its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions, a U.N. weapons embargo is due to expire in October. The United States, which exited the deal in 2018, says it wants to extend the embargo. In a speech on Wednesday, Rouhani repeated Iran’s longstanding criticism of Washington’s decision to exit the nuclear deal, which he called a “stupid mistake”. “If America wants to return to the deal, it should lift all the sanctions on Tehran and compensate for the reimposition of sanctions,” said Rouhani, a pragmatist whose rhetoric towards the United States is frequently more measured than that of some officials. “Iran will give a crushing response if the arms embargo on Tehran is extended,” Rouhani added. (Reuters)

05-06-2020
Politics

Iran’s hardliner election watchdog has opposed a last-ditch effort by the outgoing parliament to boost political competitiveness in the country’s closed electoral system.

Iran’s hardliner election watchdog has opposed a last-ditch effort by the outgoing parliament to boost political competitiveness in the country’s closed electoral system. The 92-year old chairman of the Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati has said that a draft bill in parliament is aimed at watering down his council’s authority in approving candidates for elections. The Guardian Council vets all parliamentary and presidential candidates and as a norm rejects most aspirants. In last February’s parliamentary elections not only thousands of would-be candidates were disqualified but even 100 serving lawmakers were barred from running again. (Radio Farda)

05-05-2020
Syria Conflict

An Iranian airline sanctioned for giving support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah could have fuelled the spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East, an investigation has found.

An Iranian airline sanctioned for giving support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah could have fuelled the spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East, an investigation has found. Mahan Air operated passenger flights to four Chinese destinations on 16 round-trips in February and March despite the Iranian government suspending the company’s flights as Covid-19 gripped Iran, data on flightradar24.com showed. The flight destinations included Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, four of the biggest cities in China. Mahan Air also flew to Lebanon and Iraq after the flight ban and may have introduced the first cases in each country. (The National)

05-04-2020
Extremism

A top Iranian official has repeated his threat to “raze Israeli cities to the ground” if the Jewish state takes any action against the Islamic Republic, hinting that Tehran could attack even in retaliation to US military action.

A top Iranian official has repeated his threat to “raze Israeli cities to the ground” if the Jewish state takes any action against the Islamic Republic, hinting that Tehran could attack even in retaliation to US military action, in the tense aftermath of the killing earlier this year of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani. “If the Zionist entity takes even the slightest initiative, you may rest assured that we will raze the Israeli cities to the ground,” Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of Iran’s powerful Expediency Council, told Qatar’s Al-Jazeera network in an April 28 TV interview translated and published Sunday by the Middle East Media Research Institute. Rezaei said that in the immediate aftermath of Soleimani’s killing in a January 3 airstrike in Iraq, “Tel Aviv was not the issue at hand — we had to deal with America.” (Times of Israel)

05-04-2020
Human Rights

Iran has sentenced an exiled husband and wife to a total of 16 years in jail over their popular Instagram accounts where they have a collective 1.5 million followers.

Iran has sentenced an exiled husband and wife to a total of 16 years in jail over their popular Instagram accounts where they have a collective 1.5 million followers. The couple announced late last month that a court in Iran had issued the sentence that also included 74 lashes for "propaganda against the regime", "obscene and vulgar", Radio Farda reported. The couple, Ahmad Moin-Shirazi and Shabnam Shahrokhi, say they left Iran last September after being summoned to the Intelligence Ministry on numerous occasions where they were accused of espionage and other crimes. (The National)

05-01-2020
Terrorism

Iran has slammed Germany's ban on the activities of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement on its soil, saying it would face consequences for its decision to give in to Israeli and US pressure.

Iran has slammed Germany's ban on the activities of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement on its soil, saying it would face consequences for its decision to give in to Israeli and US pressure. Germany branded Hezbollah a "Shiite terrorist organisation" on Thursday, with dozens of police and special forces storming mosques and associations across the country linked to the Lebanese militant group. In a statement issued overnight, Iran's foreign ministry said the ban ignores "realities in West Asia". The Islamic republic said the move was based solely on the goals of the "propaganda machine of the Zionists and America's confused regime". (AFP)

04-30-2020
Human Rights

A top Iranian official said the country has rounded up and arrested 3,600 of its citizens for “spreading rumors about coronavirus.”

A top Iranian official said the country has rounded up and arrested 3,600 of its citizens for “spreading rumors about coronavirus.” Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, the spokesman for Iran’s armed forces, said Tuesday that Iranian police and Basij forces have arrested thousands of people and claimed the country’s “enemies” had “agents” working inside to undermine Iran. The Basij forces are a paramilitary wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that are used for internal security. “Our enemies are always hostile and have agents to further their wishes in our country, but we had a very good performance in combating coronavirus in comparison with countries that claim to be advanced. You can see what disaster the United States is stuck in,” Shekarchi said. (Washington Examiner)

04-28-2020
Human Rights

The editor in chief and a social-media administrator of Iran’s semiofficial ILNA news agency were detained last week over a cartoon deemed insulting to the country's leadership.

The editor in chief and a social-media administrator of Iran’s semiofficial ILNA news agency were detained last week over a cartoon deemed insulting to the country's leadership. The cartoon, which appeared to mock Iran’s highest authority, was reportedly removed from ILNA’s Telegram channel shortly after being posted. ILNA’s editor in chief, Masud Heydari, has been released on bail but the news agency’s Telegram administrator Hamid Haghjoo remains in detention. It is not clear if the two have been charged. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

04-24-2020
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic of Iran imposed a sentence of lashes and prison on Mary (Fatemeh) Mohammadi, one of Iran’s most famous converts to Christianity, because she allegedly “disturbed the public order.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran imposed a sentence of lashes and prison on Mary (Fatemeh) Mohammadi, one of Iran’s most famous converts to Christianity, because she allegedly “disturbed the public order.” The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent  federal government commission, slammed Iran’s regime on Wednesday writing “USCIRF condemns Iran’s sentencing of Christian convert and social activist Mary Mohammadi. No peaceful activist should be targeted on the basis of their religious beliefs.” Iran’s authorities arrested the 21-year-old Mohammadi on January 12 near a protest where Iranians demonstrated in connection with Tehran’s downing of  Ukrainian Airline passenger Flight 752. (Jerusalem Post)

04-24-2020
Anti-Americanism

The commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) air arm has claimed his troops were ready to attack hundreds of additional American targets if January's limited exchange of fire escalated into a wider conflict.

The commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) air arm has claimed his troops were ready to attack hundreds of additional American targets if January's limited exchange of fire escalated into a wider conflict. IRGC Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh made the comments Friday when talking to reporters about the Corps' successful satellite launch earlier this week, which comes as Washington and Tehran exchange fresh military threats in the Persian Gulf. Iran and the U.S. appeared close to war in January after President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani. (Newsweek)

04-23-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran will destroy U.S. warships if Tehran’s security is threatened in the Gulf, head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Hossein Salami told state TV, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Tehran over “harassment” of U.S. ships.

Iran will destroy U.S. warships if Tehran’s security is threatened in the Gulf, head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Hossein Salami told state TV on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Tehran over “harassment” of U.S. ships. “I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens security of Iran’s military or non-military ships,” Salami told state TV. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.” (Reuters)

04-22-2020
Human Rights

Iran’s state-run broadcaster has refused to allocate parts of its unused frequency bands, effectively keeping its monopolistic hold on the country’s internet infrastructure and keeping connectivity at barest minimum.

Iran’s state-run broadcaster has refused to allocate parts of its unused frequency bands, effectively keeping its monopolistic hold on the country’s internet infrastructure and keeping connectivity at barest minimum. The Islamic republic’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT) and local internet infrastructure companies need 700 MHz and 800 MHz frequencies to develop the fifth-generation mobile Internet technology and increase the network capacity and speed, broadcast agency Radio Farda said, but gaining access to them means weakening the state TV’s monopoly on the production of videos and the flow of information. Communications authorities believe the frequency bands, if utilized, can lead to a reduction in the costs of connectivity cost and an increase in quality of internet in Iran. (Arab News)

04-22-2020
Human Rights

United Nations rights experts say they are “shocked” Iran has executed another juvenile offender in violation of international law.

United Nations rights experts say they are “shocked” Iran has executed another juvenile offender in violation of international law. Shayan Saeedpour, who was 17 years old at the time of his conviction for a fatal knife stabbing, was hanged on April 21, United Nations special rapporteurs Javaid Rehman and Agnes Callamard said in a statement. They expressed concern that Iran may soon carry out more executions, including of another juvenile offender, in response to recent prison riots. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

04-22-2020
Military

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched its first satellite into space, dramatically revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could advance its ballistic missile development.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched its first satellite into space Wednesday, dramatically revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could advance its ballistic missile development amid wider tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. Using a mobile launcher at a new launch site, the Guard said it put the “Noor,” or “Light,” satellite into a low orbit circling the Earth. While the U.S., Israel and other countries declined to immediately confirm the satellite reached orbit, their criticism suggested they believed the launch happened. Iranian state TV late Wednesday showed footage of what it said was the satellite and said it had orbited the earth within 90 minutes. It said the satellite’s signals were being received. (Associated Press)

04-21-2020
Human Rights

Iran's media freedom rank is 173 out of the 180 countries in the latest press freedom index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Iran's media freedom rank is 173 out of the 180 countries in the latest press freedom index of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released on Tuesday. The Islamic Republic's rank has dropped three points from 170 in 2019. The RSF report says Iran has been one of the world's most repressive countries for journalists for the past 40 years with unrelenting state control of news and information and at least 860 journalists and citizen-journalists imprisoned or executed since 1979. The report mentions extensive control over the media landscape and harassment of independent journalists, citizen-journalists and independent media coupled with intimidation, arbitrary arrest and long sentences imposed by revolutionary courts at the end of unfair trials as some of the factors that have made Iran an extremely difficult environment for journalists to work. (Radio Farda)

04-20-2020
Military

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard announced that it has significantly upgraded the range of its anti-warship missiles, the state-run news agency reported.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard announced on Monday that it has significantly upgraded the range of its anti-warship missiles, the state-run news agency reported. The Guard says it now possesses surface-to-surface and subsurface anti-warship missiles with a range as high as 700 kilometers (430 miles), according to its top naval officer, Adm. Ali Reza Tangsiri. In September, Iranian officials said the country’s most advanced anti-warship missiles had a range of about 300 kilometers, some 180 miles. (Associated Press)

04-19-2020
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s navy announced that the Islamic Republic will build nuclear submarines.

The head of Iran’s navy announced on Thursday that the Islamic Republic will build nuclear submarines. “It’s a kind of neglecting if the Islamic Republic does not think about using nuclear propulsion in submarines… this domestic capability exists in the Defense Ministry regarding the production of submarines bigger than Fateh – and certainly, the developing of submarine propulsion is on the agenda of the Navy,” Rear Adm. Khanzadi said, according to a report by the state-controlled Mehr news agency. Khanzadi said that “None of the international pacts ban using peaceful nuclear energy, but the peace we are talking about doesn’t find meaning without maintaining defense readiness.” (Jerusalem Post)

04-19-2020
Military

Iran’s Defense Ministry unveiled a mass of new drones for the Islamic Republic’s army and air force, some of which can fly more than 1,000 km. according to Tehran, which means they could reach Israel from Iran.

Iran’s Defense Ministry unveiled a mass of new drones over the weekend for the Islamic Republic’s army and air force. According to Tehran the drones have new capabilities, and can fly more than 1,000 km., which means they could reach Israel from Iran. Iran has been producing drones since the 1980s and is an innovator in drone warfare. It used 25 drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia last September, and has flown drones into Israeli airspace. Iran’s Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami showed off the drones on Saturday. He said that one jet-powered UAV could fly at speeds of 900 km. per hour at an altitude of 12,000 meters. This would rival the best drones that the US and other countries are now using. These drones have a range of up to 1,500 km., he said, and can fly for several hours. It is a message to Israel, the US and their allies: We can reach you. (Jerusalem Post)

04-17-2020
Human Rights

The Free Trade Union of Workers in Iran has reported that a member of its board of directors, Ms. Nahid Khodajo, was summoned to Tehran's Evin Prison, to serve her sentence amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Free Trade Union of Workers in Iran has reported that a member of its board of directors, Ms. Nahid Khodajo, was summoned to Tehran's Evin Prison, to serve her sentence amid the coronavirus crisis. Deploring the decision, the April 16 statement says the Evin Court of Appeals has given Ms. Khodajoo five days to surrender herself to the prison and serve six years behind bars. "The judge has disregarded the fact that the deadly outbreak of the novel coronavirus has created an extremely life-threatening situation at prisons across the country", the statement noted. A retired worker and a member of the board of directors of the Free Trade Union of Iran, Khodajoo, was arrested in front of Majlis (Iranian parliament) on International Workers' Day last year and released on bail after 33 days in detention. She was later sentenced to six years in prison, and 74 lashes by an Islamic Revolutionary Court. (Radio Farda)

04-16-2020
Military

Eleven Iranian gunboats harassed U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating in the north Persian Gulf, the Navy said, calling Iran’s actions “dangerous and provocative.”

Eleven Iranian gunboats harassed U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships operating in the north Persian Gulf on Wednesday, the Navy said, calling Iran’s actions “dangerous and provocative.” At one point, the Iranian vessels, from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps navy, came within 10 yards of the Coast Guard Cutter Maui, the Navy said. The U.S. ships issued several warnings through bridge-to-bridge radio and horn blasts, the Navy said. After an hour, the Iranian vessels “maneuvered away from the U.S. ships and opened distance between them,” the Navy said in a statement. (Wall Street Journal)

04-14-2020
Military

Iranian naval forces seized a Hong Kong-flagged tanker and redirected the vessel into Iranian waters before releasing it, according to Western and Emirati officials, prompting a warning to ships along the Persian Gulf’s key oil export route.

Iranian naval forces seized a Hong Kong-flagged tanker and redirected the vessel into Iranian waters before releasing it, according to Western and Emirati officials, prompting a warning Tuesday to ships along the Persian Gulf’s key oil export route. The alert comes amid mounting Iranian assertiveness along the key oil export route, say Western security officials, and as broader regional tensions simmer between Tehran and Saudi Arabia as well as Western powers. Tankers crossing the Strait of Hormuz—near the area where the vessel was held—have been frequently stopped or approached by the Iranian navy in recent months. Over a third of the world’s seaborne oil transits through the Strait. (Wall Street Journal)

04-11-2020
Nuclear Program

The Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee declared that Tehran will move forward with its uranium enrichment process, triggering sharp criticism from the US State Department.

The Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee declared that Tehran will move forward with its uranium enrichment process, triggering sharp criticism from the US State Department on Thursday. According to a report in the Iranian regime’s state-controlled MEHR news agency, the foreign policy committee for Iran’s parliament warned “that in case Europe does not provide Iran with a practical guarantee on implementation of JCPOA, the Islamic Republic will continue its uranium enrichment to its desired level and volume.” The JCPOA is an abbreviation for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name for the Iran nuclear deal. The US withdrew from it in 2018 because the agreement, according to the Trump administration, failed to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. The other world powers – UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – have stuck with the JCPOA. (Jerusalem Post)

04-09-2020
Human Rights

Around 36 prisoners in Iran are feared to have been killed by security forces after the use of lethal force to control protests over COVID-19 safety fears, Amnesty International has learned.

Around 36 prisoners in Iran are feared to have been killed by security forces after the use of lethal force to control protests over COVID-19 safety fears, Amnesty International has learned. In recent days, thousands of prisoners in at least eight prisons around the country have staged protests over fears of contracting the coronavirus, sparking deadly responses from prison officers and security forces. In several prisons, live ammunition and tear gas were used to suppress protests, killing around 35 prisoners and injuring hundreds of others, according to credible sources. In at least one prison, security forces beat those taking part in the protest action, possibly leading to the death of an inmate. (Amnesty International)

04-09-2020
Nuclear Program

A team of American experts says it has uncovered a previously unknown Islamic Republic nuclear weapons development site in Iran.

A team of American experts says it has uncovered a previously unknown Islamic Republic nuclear weapons development site in Iran. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) called on Tehran on April 8 to acknowledge the previously undisclosed site to international inspectors. … ISIS says that it has evidence the Islamic Republic operated the nuclear weapons development facility in northern Iran until at least 2011 when it was likely destroyed as Western nations began to investigate the country's weapons program. "Based on documents in the Iran Nuclear Archive, seized by Israel in early 2018, Iran’s Amad Plan created the Shahid Mahallati Uranium Metals Workshop near Tehran to research and develop uranium metallurgy related to building nuclear weapons", ISIS says. (Radio Farda)

04-08-2020
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s atomic agency on Tuesday said work to modernize the Arak heavy water plant was progressing, as were efforts to construct two new reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant.

The head of Iran’s atomic agency on Tuesday said work to modernize the Arak heavy water plant was progressing, as were efforts to construct two new reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant. “Modernization and completion of Khondab (Arak) heavy water reactor is underway based on the contents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted saying by the Fars news agency, referring to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Salehi, who made the comments in a message marking the country’s national nuclear day, said Iran was pushing ahead with work in a number of fields related to its nuclear program, including uranium enrichment. He also said the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran made 122 new nuclear-related achievements over the last year, but did not give details on what these were. (Times of Israel)

04-08-2020
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Ali Akbar Salehi, said that the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities were continuing and that a new generation of centrifuges would soon come online at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic's nuclear activities were continuing despite the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country. "A new generation of centrifuges would soon come online at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant", Salehi said. Speaking to the monopolized state-run national television, Salehi once again maintained that Tehran's nuclear activities were solely for peaceful purposes. Earlier on April 5, speaking to Fars news agency Salehi had disclosed, "Nuclear activities, as well as research and development on the nuclear fuel cycle, uranium conversion, and enrichment (including production and storage), are being carried out without any restrictions." (Radio Farda)

04-07-2020
Military

Evidence suggests that Iran has deployed an array of anti-ship missiles and large rockets overlooking the Strait of Hormuz, which is vital for the supply of oil from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

Evidence suggests that Iran has deployed an array of anti-ship missiles and large rockets overlooking Strait of Hormuz, which is vital for the supply of oil from the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The waterway is being patrolled by U.S. Navy and its allies to protect vessels from Iranian action. Multiple amateur videos and photos of the weapons lined up overlooking the beach began surfacing on social media on April 4. Geospatial analysis has confirmed that the location of one of the batteries is on Qeshm Island. The images show the weapons were deployed beside the coast road, facing east towards the Strait, between Qeshm and Borka Khalaf, and were lined up behind a protective sand berm. The space between them suggests a tactical deployment. It’s unclear whether it is an exercise or a show of force, and whether or not it was supposed to be seen. (Forbes)

04-02-2020
Terrorism

Hackers working in the interests of the Iranian government have attempted to break into the personal email accounts of staff at the World Health Organization during the coronavirus outbreak, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Hackers working in the interests of the Iranian government have attempted to break into the personal email accounts of staff at the World Health Organization during the coronavirus outbreak, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. It is not clear if any accounts were compromised, but the attacks show how the WHO and other organizations at the center of a global effort to contain the coronavirus have come under a sustained digital bombardment by hackers seeking information about the outbreak. Reuters reported in March that hacking attempts against the United Nations health agency and its partners had more than doubled since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, which has now killed more than 40,000 worldwide. The latest effort has been ongoing since March 2 and attempted to steal passwords from WHO staff by sending malicious messages designed to mimic Google web services to their personal email accounts, a common hacking technique known as “phishing,” according to four people briefed on the attacks. Reuters confirmed their findings by reviewing a string of malicious websites and other forensic data. (Reuters)

04-01-2020
Terrorism

The United States believes Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security was directly involved in the killing of an Iranian dissident last November in Turkey, a senior administration official told Reuters.

The United States believes Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security was directly involved in the killing of an Iranian dissident last November in Turkey, a senior administration official told Reuters on Wednesday. Masoud Molavi Vardanjani was shot dead on an Istanbul street on Nov. 14, 2019. Citing Turkish officials, Reuters last week reported that two intelligence officers in Iran’s consulate in Istanbul had instigated his killing. “Given Iran’s history of targeted assassinations of Iranian dissidents and the methods used in Turkey, the United States government believes that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) was directly involved in Vardanjani’s killing,” a senior administration official told Reuters. (Reuters)

04-01-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran warned the United States it is leading the Middle East to disaster amid the coronavirus pandemic after reports that Patriot air defence missiles were deployed to Iraq.

Iran warned the United States it is leading the Middle East to disaster amid the coronavirus pandemic after reports that Patriot air defence missiles were deployed to Iraq. Washington had been in talks with Baghdad about the proposed deployment since January, but it was not immediately clear whether it secured its approval or not. Iran, which wields huge influence in its western neighbour, said it had not. The US deployment runs "counter to the official position of the Iraqi government, parliament and people", a foreign ministry statement said on Wednesday. It called for a halt to "warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak" and warned US military activities in the region could lead it to "instability and disaster". (Al Jazeera)

04-01-2020
Anti-Americanism

U.S. intelligence out of the Middle East suggests that Iran or Iran-backed forces are planning a potentially serious attack against U.S. military personnel in Iraq, said officials monitoring the information.

U.S. intelligence out of the Middle East suggests that Iran or Iran-backed forces are planning a potentially serious attack against U.S. military personnel in Iraq, said officials monitoring the information. “We’ve been seeing something brewing and developing pretty seriously,” a U.S. official said Wednesday. The intelligence has mounted over a two-week period, officials said. “We expect something soon,” the official said. Shiite militias such as Kataib Hezbollah have been targeting U.S. troops in Iraq in recent weeks with a series of rocket attacks. Two Americans and a British soldier were killed in a missile attack in March at Camp Taji, an Iraqi base where coalition troops are stationed. (Wall Street Journal)

03-27-2020
Military

Iran's Defence Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami said Iran has upgraded all its cruise missiles and is planning to increase the explosive power of their warheads, speed and maneuverability.

Iran's Defence Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami on March 26 said Iran has upgraded all its cruise missiles and is planning to increase the explosive power of their warheads, speed and maneuverability. According to a report by Iran's DEFA Press which covers military news, Brigadier-General Hatami said in the current Iranian year (which started on March 21) cruise missiles will become more responsive and capable of being deployed while on the move. Iranian-made air-launched cruise missiles are being worked on and may be unveiled during the current year, he was quoted as saying. He referred to Bavar-373, an Iranian long-range road-mobile surface-to-air missile system, and Khordad 15, a surface-to-air missile system as "turning points" in Iran's missile capabilities. The Khordad 15 system was unveiled to the public on 9 June 2019 by Hatami in Tehran, Iran. The system was developed by the Iran Aviation Industries Organization. (Radio Farda)

03-26-2020
Human Rights

A Navy veteran released from an Iranian prison last week on a medical furlough says he's sick with coronavirus symptoms and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment.

A Navy veteran released from an Iranian prison last week on a medical furlough says he's sick with coronavirus symptoms and is requesting a humanitarian evacuation to the United States for medical treatment. Michael White was hospitalized Wednesday in a crowded ward for coronavirus patients in Iran and has experienced fever, fatigue, a cough and shortness of breath since his furlough last week, according to a statement from Jon Franks, a family spokesman. White, of Imperial Beach, California, "is an immunocompromised cancer patient and his situation is urgent," Franks said. White has been tested for the coronavirus but the results haven't come back. (CBS News)

03-25-2020
Human Rights

As coronavirus spreads in Iran, authorities have moved swiftly and aggressively to contain independent reporting about it by harassing, detaining and censoring journalists and social media users.

As coronavirus spreads in Iran, authorities have moved swiftly and aggressively to contain independent reporting about it by harassing, detaining and censoring journalists and social media users. Tehran has questioned or detained journalists who contradicted or questioned official reports, warned that those publishing statistics other than government figures would be arrested, and issued censorship orders to news outlets. In at least one case, a journalist was forced to retract comments made on social media. Iran’s leaders downplayed the outbreak in February, when the first cases were reported. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a March 3 broadcast called on citizens to “not overestimate” the virus, and regime officials including Hossein Salami, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), have said on state media the virus “might be the product of an American biological [attack].” (Voice of America)

03-25-2020
Human Rights

Trump administration officials have concluded that Robert A. Levinson, the retired F.B.I. agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 on an unauthorized mission for the C.I.A., died while in Iranian custody, his family announced.

Trump administration officials have concluded that Robert A. Levinson, the retired F.B.I. agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 on an unauthorized mission for the C.I.A., died while in Iranian custody, his family announced on Wednesday. Newly revealed intelligence pointed to Mr. Levinson’s death, top national security officials told his relatives inside the White House Situation Room in recent weeks, according to a person familiar with the meeting. The officials provided strong evidence that Mr. Levinson had died sometime in the past several years, the person said, but did not detail the proof. “We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody,” Mr. Levinson’s family wrote in a statement on Facebook. “We don’t know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.” (New York Times)

03-24-2020
Human Rights

Iran’s theocratic rulers have temporarily released some 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, in an effort to prevent the spread of the Middle East’s worst coronavirus outbreak, but have refused to free many Iranian Christians.

Iran’s theocratic rulers have temporarily released some 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, in an effort to prevent the spread of the Middle East’s worst coronavirus outbreak, but have refused to free many Iranian Christians jailed for practicing their faith. Article18, an organization that promotes religious freedom in Iran, told Fox News on Monday that four Iranian Christians serving 10-year sentences in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison are among the prisons denied temporary release “even though their requests for retrials have been accepted.” “We at Article18 ask for the immediate and unconditional release of all Christians detained on spurious charges related to their faith or religious activities,” Mansour Borji, the research and advocacy director for the London-based organization, said. “This is even more urgent given the current health crisis that threatens these detained Christians and their families back home.” (Fox News)

03-23-2020
Human Rights

Iranian regime officials stole more than $1 billion in humanitarian funds meant to be used to help the country's people fight the spread of coronavirus, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iranian regime officials stole more than $1 billion in humanitarian funds meant to be used to help the country's people fight the spread of coronavirus, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. European countries intended for more than $1 billion cash for medical supplies to go to the Iranian people, who have been ravaged by the virus. But American officials say regime leaders instead pocketed the money and are now using it to protect themselves from the virus as it spreads throughout the population. This includes hoarding medical supplies that were meant to aid Iranian citizens. Multiple regional reports have showed that before and since the virus began spreading, Iranian leaders stole funds purposed directly to support the ailing Iranian people. (Washington Free Beacon)

03-22-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s supreme leader refused U.S. assistance to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory claiming the virus could be man-made by America.

Iran’s supreme leader refused U.S. assistance Sunday to fight the new coronavirus, citing an unfounded conspiracy theory claiming the virus could be man-made by America. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s comments come as Iran faces crushing U.S. sanctions blocking the country from selling its crude oil and accessing international financial markets. But while Iranian civilian officials in recent days have increasingly criticized those sanctions, 80-year-old Khamenei instead chose to traffic in the same conspiracy theory increasingly used by Chinese officials about the new virus to deflect blame for the pandemic. (Associated Press)

03-17-2020
Syria Conflict

Two rockets have struck a training base south of Baghdad where US-led coalition troops and NATO trainers are present, Iraq's military has said.

Two rockets have struck a training base south of Baghdad where US-led coalition troops and NATO trainers are present, Iraq's military has said. The attack, the third targeting military bases hosting foreign forces in a week, targeted the Besmaya base south of Baghdad on Monday night, read the statement, making no mention of casualties. Earlier on Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iraq that the US would retaliate "as necessary" against any new assaults on Americans. (Al Jazeera)

03-14-2020
Syria Conflict

Rockets hit a base housing U.S. troops in Iraq, wounding at least three American military personnel and two Iraqi troops in an attack that is likely to intensify tensions between the United States and Iran.

Rockets hit a base housing U.S. troops in Iraq on Saturday, wounding at least three American military personnel and two Iraqi troops in an attack that is likely to intensify tensions between the United States and Iran. Col. Myles Caggins, a U.S. military spokesman, said at least 25 107 mm rockets hit Camp Taji, a base north of Baghdad, on Saturday morning. Two of the Americans were seriously injured, the military said, adding that Iraqi security forces had made an arrest. The Iraqi military said in a statement that the “blatant attack” had struck Iraqi air defense units and warned the perpetrators and those who may have enabled them. It said seven rocket launchers had been found in a garage near the base, along with two dozen rockets that had not been fired. (Washington Post)

03-12-2020
Syria Conflict

The Pentagon’s top leaders confirmed that Iranian-backed militia groups were behind the rocket attack in Iraq that killed two U.S. troops and one British soldier a day earlier, saying that “all options are on the table” for a response.

The Pentagon’s top leaders on Thursday confirmed that Iranian-backed militia groups were behind the rocket attack in Iraq that killed two U.S. troops and one British soldier a day earlier, saying that “all options are on the table” for a response. “Yesterday’s attack by Iranian-backed Shia militia groups consisted of multiple indirect fires that originated from a stationary platform and was clearly targeting coalition and partnered forces on Camp Taji,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. “Let me be clear, the United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests or our allies,” Esper added. (The Hill)

03-12-2020
Human Rights

A top U.S. general said that Iran is significantly underreporting the number of its coronavirus victims and he believed that the global pandemic is making Tehran more dangerous.

A top U.S. general said on Thursday that Iran is significantly underreporting the number of its coronavirus victims and he believed that the global pandemic is making Tehran more dangerous, a day after an attack in Iraq that killed U.S. and British troops. “I think it is having an effect on how they make decisions, I think it slows them down...I believe the numbers are probably significantly underreported,” U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of Central Command, said. McKenzie said while he did not know for sure what impact the virus was having that “authoritarian regimes” usually react to extreme pressure by looking at external threats. (Reuters)

03-11-2020
Human Rights

The newly released U.N. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran savaged Tehran’s failure to adhere to basic human rights norms.

The newly released U.N. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran savaged Tehran’s failure to adhere to basic human rights norms. Javaid Rehman, the U.N. Rapporteur who released his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland,  on Monday, said: "Individuals who have called for the alleviation of economic hardships, and those who peacefully exercise their civil and political rights in defense of human rights have faced a harsh response. In particular, I remain deeply concerned at the arrest and imprisonment of human rights defenders and lawyers. I received reports that imprisoned human rights defender, Arash Sadeghi, has been denied treatment for bone cancer and a serious arm infection.” He added: “Prominent human rights lawyers, Nasrin Sotoudeh and Amirsalar Davoudi, remain imprisoned for their convictions connected to their representation of marginalized communities. Mr. Davoudi started a hunger strike last month. Labor rights activists and journalists reporting on industrial relations have been imprisoned for peaceful expression and assembly.” (Fox News)

03-11-2020
Nuclear Program

One of the three sites in Iran about which the U.N. nuclear watchdog says it has raised questions that Tehran has failed to answer may have hosted uranium metal, the United States said, providing new details on the locations.

One of the three sites in Iran about which the U.N. nuclear watchdog says it has raised questions that Tehran has failed to answer may have hosted uranium metal, the United States said on Wednesday, providing new details on the locations. The International Atomic Energy Agency policing Iran’s troubled nuclear deal with major powers rebuked Tehran last week for failing to reply to its questions about nuclear activities dating back to the early 2000s at three sites and for denying its inspectors access to two of them. Uranium metal has long been an issue of interest to the IAEA in investigating Iran’s past work. In 2005 Iran handed the IAEA a 15-page document given to it by a nuclear black market network showing how to make two uranium metal half-spheres like those that often make up the core of an atomic bomb. (Reuters)

03-05-2020
Human Rights

An Iranian director who won last month the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival has been summoned to serve a 1-year prison sentence over his movies, his lawyer says.

An Iranian director who won last month the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival has been summoned to serve a 1-year prison sentence over his movies, his lawyer says. Mohammad Rasoulof won the festival's Golden Bear for his film There Is No Evil, but was unable to accept the prize in person on February 29 due to a travel ban imposed on him by Iran’s authorities. His lawyer said the 48-year-old filmmaker received an order via text message from the judiciary on March 4 to appear and start serving a 12-month prison sentence handed down last year. The sentence came from films he made that authorities found to be “propaganda against the system,” said the lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

03-05-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran stood by its decision to deny U.N. nuclear inspectors access to sites where they have questions about past activities, arguing that the agency’s case is based on “fabricated” Israeli intelligence.

Iran on Thursday stood by its decision to deny U.N. nuclear inspectors access to sites where they have questions about past activities, arguing that the agency’s case is based on “fabricated” Israeli intelligence. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is policing Iran’s troubled nuclear deal with major powers, sounded an alarm on Tuesday over a lack of Iranian cooperation in clearing up what the IAEA suspects are undeclared activities and materials dating back to the early 2000s. Iran has denied it access to two sites. Diplomats who follow the IAEA say the decision to inspect those sites to take environmental samples was based at least in part on a trove of documents Israel says its intelligence agents seized in Iran. Israel calls it an “archive” of past activities. “The Islamic Republic of Iran does not want to set a bad precedence by giving legitimacy to such alleged information,” Iran’s mission to the IAEA in Vienna said in a statement. (Reuters)

03-04-2020
Extremism

Iran is continuing efforts to encourage anti-Americanism in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, to secure its own influence and interests.

Iran is continuing efforts to encourage anti-Americanism in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, to secure its own influence and interests. Dozens of Iran-aligned Muslim scholars from several countries, mainly in the Middle East, gathered Feb. 21 in Baghdad to participate in a forum of the fourth International Conference of Resistance Axis Scholars, an organization that brings together Muslim academics, both Shiite and Sunni, who believe in the goals of the Axis of Resistance led by Iran. Unsurprisingly, anti-American sentiment dominated the forum. One slogan displayed behind the speakers read, “The exit of American forces is inevitable." The meeting focused on several issues: Iraq's sovereignty and the presence of US forces, the state of the Muslim community in general and the Palestinian struggle. (Al-Monitor)

03-04-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani dismissed a US offer to help the Islamic republic fight its coronavirus outbreak, charging that "vicious" American sanctions are depriving the country of medicine.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday dismissed a US offer to help the Islamic republic fight its coronavirus outbreak, charging that "vicious" American sanctions are depriving the country of medicine. Iran has scrambled to halt the rapid spread of the virus that has claimed 92 lives out of 2,922 confirmed infections in the past two weeks. It has shut schools and universities, suspended major cultural and sporting events, and cut back on work hours. "Those who have deprived the people of even medicine and food through sanctions, who have done the most vicious things... they appear with a mask of sympathy and say that we want to help the nation of Iran," Rouhani said, in a clear reference to the United States. (AFP)

03-03-2020
Human Rights

Human rights group Amnesty International accused the Iranian security forces of killing 23 children, mostly with live ammunition, during a November crackdown on anti-government protests.

Human rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday accused the Iranian security forces of killing 23 children, mostly with live ammunition, during a November crackdown on anti-government protests. Protests broke out across Iran from November 15, after the announcement of a surprise petrol price rise. The authorities responded with a crackdown that Amnesty has already said left 304 people dead, a figure vehemently disputed by Tehran. Amnesty said in its new report it had evidence that at least 23 children were killed, 22 of them by the security forces "unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders." (Al Jazeera)

03-03-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since early November, the United Nations’ atomic agency said, prompting warnings from experts and diplomats that Tehran has slashed the time it would need to amass enough fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Iran has nearly tripled its stockpile of enriched uranium since early November, the United Nations’ atomic agency said Tuesday, prompting warnings from experts and diplomats that Tehran has slashed the time it would need to amass enough fuel for a nuclear weapon. Iran’s growing stockpile of enriched uranium may pose a major test for President Trump ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November. Mr. Trump has vowed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. His administration has imposed harsh sanctions to press Tehran to stop all enrichment of nuclear material and halt its support for militant groups in the Middle East. When the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers took effect in January 2016, U.S. officials estimated that it would take at least a year for Iran to produce sufficient enriched uranium for a single nuclear weapon if it broke out of the agreement. (Wall Street Journal)

03-03-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran risks triggering a new crisis if it does not cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog after failing to answer its questions about past nuclear activities at three sites and denying it access to two of them, its chief said.

Iran risks triggering a new crisis if it does not cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog after failing to answer its questions about past nuclear activities at three sites and denying it access to two of them, its chief said on Tuesday. Rafael Grossi, who took up his post in December, spoke to Reuters in an interview hours after he and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) he heads released a report admonishing Iran. “We have been requesting some information and access from Iran but we haven’t been getting the information we require,” he said. “We have insisted and despite all our efforts we have not been able to get that, so the situation requires on my part such a step because what this means is that Iran is curtailing the ability of the agency to do its work.” (Reuters)

02-28-2020
Terrorism

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett signed an order to seize some $4 million in funds which Israel said were transferred from Iran to Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett signed an order Thursday to seize some $4 million in funds which Israel said were transferred from Iran to Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. The funds were intended to develop Hamas’ infrastructure in Gaza, including the production of weapons as well as payments to the organization’s operatives, the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement. The order signed by Bennett targets al-Mutahidoun currency-exchange company owned by Zuheir Shamlakh and his family, it said. The source of the money is “the Iranian government which works against the Israeli state," the statement added. (Asharq al-Awsat)

02-25-2020
Human Rights

An Iranian human rights group reported that a court has sentenced five individuals arrested during November protests to a total of thirty years in prison as well as flogging and exile.

An Iranian human rights group on February 25 reported that a court has sentenced five individuals arrested during November protests to a total of thirty years in prison as well as flogging and exile. Iranian authorities have not officially announced how many were arrested during the protests in November. It is also not clear how many of the arrested protesters are still being held in detention. Some of the protesters, however, have been put on trial in various regions. An overnight three-fold increase in gasoline prices in November 2019 triggered a wave of protests that soon turned into anti-Islamic Republic unrest in 29 out of 31 provinces of Iran. (Radio Farda)

02-24-2020
Military

Iran has sustained its military spending in the face of debilitating US sanctions, a military adviser to the supreme leader has said in a rare interview.

Iran has sustained its military spending in the face of debilitating US sanctions, a military adviser to the supreme leader has said in a rare interview, dismissing the Trump administration’s claims that its maximum pressure strategy has forced Tehran to slash its defence budgets. Iranian officials acknowledge the impact sanctions have had on their economy, which has been plunged into a deep recession as US president Donald Trump has ramped up the pressure on the Islamic republic. But Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan told the Financial Times that Tehran had not “made any cuts to the budgets of our military organisations”. (Financial Times)

02-23-2020
Human Rights

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced three people arrested in the heat of anti-government protests last November to death.

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced three people arrested in the heat of anti-government protests last November to death. They were sentenced behind closed doors by the notorious ultraconservative judge, Abolqassem Salavati. An Iranian monitoring groups, the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) has named the three as Amir Hossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi, and Saeed Tamjidi. On top of the death penalty, Salavati sentenced Moradi to an extra fifteen years in prison and 74 lashes for the charge of "cooperation in aggravated armed robbery" and one-year imprisonment for "crossing the border unlawfully." Salavati sentenced the other two, Rajabi and Tamjidi, each to ten years jail and 74 lashes for "cooperation in aggravated armed robbery" and one-year imprisonment for "crossing the border unlawfully." (Radio Farda)

02-23-2020
Politics

Iran’s conservatives won a landslide in the country’s parliamentary elections, strengthening hard-liners opposed to diplomacy with the West.

Iran’s conservatives won a landslide in the country’s parliamentary elections, strengthening hard-liners opposed to diplomacy with the West. But a record-low turnout dealt a public rebuke to the establishment’s call for unity in the face of escalating tensions with the U.S. Acknowledging the defeat of nonconservative factions, the moderate President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday called on the new lawmakers to represent not just those who voted but all Iranians. “Regardless of the result and political inclinations of those elected, we thank the people for the sake of their presence,” Mr. Rouhani said, according to the IRNA state news agency. Conservative factions won 221 of the 290 seats in Iran’s legislative assembly, up from 83 in the last elections in 2016, according to Icana, the parliament’s news service. Reformists and moderates lost out, as their tally dropped to 20 seats from 121 in the last elections, after thousands of their candidates were disqualified. Independents won 38 seats, while the share of seats won by women remained unchanged at 17, Icana said. (Wall Street Journal)

02-20-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the United States will sink like the “Titanic,” blaming it on “wealthy Zionist individuals and corporate owners” who he said controlled the US economy.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said the United States will sink like the “Titanic,” blaming it on “wealthy Zionist individuals and corporate owners” who he said controlled the US economy. In a long series of tweets, Khamenei said the strength of the US economy was a “facade” and appeared to quote  progressive Democrats saying that US President Donald Trump was overseeing the transfer of US wealth to a few billionaires. “Today, the epitome of rebellion, arrogance and tyranny is the US government, which is controlled by the wealthy Zionist individuals and corporate owners,” Khamenei tweeted. “In the same way that the glory and splendor of the famous #Titanic ship did not prevent her from sinking, the apparent glory & splendor of the US won’t prevent it from sinking. And, the US will sink,” he said. (Times of Israel)

02-19-2020
Human Rights

Iran's electoral watchdog defended its decision to disqualify thousands of candidates, most of them moderates and reformists, for a parliamentary election in two days, saying it was done in accordance with the law.

Iran's electoral watchdog on Wednesday defended its decision to disqualify thousands of candidates for a parliamentary election in two days, saying it was done in accordance with the law. The Guardian Council, a powerful body that vets candidates for Iranian elections, also said it expected at least 50 percent of registered voters to turn out at Friday's election. Thousands of candidates, most of them moderates and reformists, have been barred from entering the race by the Council, which is dominated by ultra-conservatives. (AFP)

02-19-2020
Syria Conflict

A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen’s Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say.

A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen’s Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say. These gyroscopes have only been found inside drones manufactured by Iran, Conflict Armament Research said in a report released on Wednesday. That follows a recently released report from the United Nations saying its experts saw a similar gyroscope from an Iranian drone obtained by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, as well as in weapons shipments seized in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen. The discovery further ties Iran to an attack that briefly halved Saudi Arabia’s oil output and saw energy prices spike by a level unseen since the 1991 Gulf War. It also ties Iran to the arming of the rebel Houthis in Yemen’s long civil war. Iran denies it had a hand in that assault but has increasingly promoted its influence over the Houthis and launched a ballistic missile attack on American troops in Iraq after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad last month. (The Associated Press)

02-19-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran has developed a new type of antiaircraft missile and shipped it to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Pentagon officials announced.

Iran has developed a new type of antiaircraft missile and shipped it to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Pentagon officials announced Wednesday. The weapons were seized by United States Navy warships in two separate shipments in the Arabian Sea. In a news briefing, Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for Central Command, declined to comment on how the missiles worked. But a military official familiar with the weapons, referred to as 358 missiles, described them as cruise missiles that are designed to avoid United States defensive measures and that can down American military helicopters, as well as the tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey. The missiles consist of three parts: two motors and an explosive warhead. The weapon can be assembled after shipment and fired from a crude launcher on the ground. Once the missile is fired and traveling fast enough, a solid-fuel boost motor falls away and a cruise motor takes over; at that point, the weapon flies in a figure-eight pattern and looks for targets. (New York Times)

02-18-2020
Human Rights

Iran sentenced eight environmental activists, including an Iranian who reportedly also has British and American citizenship, to prison sentences ranging from four to 10 years on charges of spying.

Iran sentenced eight environmental activists, including an Iranian who reportedly also has British and American citizenship, to prison sentences ranging from four to 10 years on charges of spying for the United States and acting against Iran’s national security, the judiciary said Tuesday. According to the judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, an appeals court issued the final verdicts. Two of the activists, Morad Tahbaz and Niloufar Bayani, got 10 years each and were ordered to return the money they allegedly received from the U.S. government for their services. (Associated Press)

02-16-2020
Extremism

Iran will refuse to negotiate with the U.S. as long as Washington maintains its campaign of “maximum pressure”—even if President Trump is re-elected, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.

Iran will refuse to negotiate with the U.S. as long as Washington maintains its campaign of “maximum pressure”—even if President Trump is re-elected, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday. Mr. Rouhani’s defiant remarks solidify Iran’s hard line in a face-off with the Trump administration that only weeks ago brought Washington and Tehran to the brink of war. “It makes no difference who will be the next [American] administration,” Mr. Rouhani said, speaking at a news conference in the Iranian capital. “Iran will never negotiate under pressure.” (Wall Street Journal)

02-14-2020
Terrorism

Facebook has removed two separate networks of fake accounts originating in Iran and Russia, for "engaging in foreign or government interference".

Facebook has removed two separate networks of fake accounts originating in Iran and Russia, for "engaging in foreign or government interference".  The Russian operation, which Facebook linked to the country's military intelligence services, focused primarily on Ukraine and neighbouring countries. The small Iranian operation used accounts and personas on Facebook and Instagram to post content about US politics and the 2020 presidential election. (BBC)

02-13-2020
Syria Conflict

A U.S. Navy warship seized weapons believed to be of Iranian “design and manufacture,” including 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, the American military said.

A U.S. Navy warship seized weapons believed to be of Iranian “design and manufacture,” including 150 anti-tank guided missiles and three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, the American military said on Thursday. In a statement, the military said the guided-missile cruiser Normandy boarded a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, in the Arabian Sea on Sunday. “The weapons seized include 150 ‘Dehlavieh’ anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs,” the statement said. (Reuters)

02-10-2020
Military

The U.S. military on Monday disclosed a more than 50% jump in cases of traumatic brain injury stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, with the number of service members diagnosed climbing to over 100.

The U.S. military on Monday disclosed a more than 50% jump in cases of traumatic brain injury stemming from Iran’s missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, with the number of service members diagnosed climbing to over 100. No U.S. troops were killed or faced immediate bodily injury when Iran fired missiles at the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport on Jan. 3. The missile attacks capped a spiral of violence that had started in late December. Both sides have refrained from further military escalation, but the mounting number of U.S. casualties could increase scrutiny on the Trump administration’s approach to Iran. (Reuters)

02-09-2020
Military

Iran unveiled a new short-range missile called Thunder and launched a satellite named Victory which failed to reach orbit.

Iran unveiled a new short-range missile called Thunder on Sunday and launched a satellite named Victory which failed to reach orbit. The developments took place at a time of high tension with the United States, which killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting an Iranian missile attack on a U.S. base in Iraq. Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said the satellite launch had not gone as planned. (Reuters)

02-03-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran’s president said that Tehran might reconsider providing U.N. inspectors with access to Iran’s nuclear facilities if the country were confronted with “a new situation,” the official IRNA news agency reported.

Iran’s president said Monday that Tehran might reconsider providing U.N. inspectors with access to Iran’s nuclear facilities if the country were confronted with “a new situation,” the official IRNA news agency reported. Hassan Rouhani’s remarks came during a meeting with Josep Borrell, the European Union’s new foreign affairs chief, who was on his first visit to Iran since taking office. The visit is seen as the latest move by the EU to save Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. The agreement hangs on a single thread, one that permits international inspection of its atomic sites, and is already threatened. (Associated Press)

01-30-2020
Extremism

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force has issued a message calling for resistance against U.S. President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” and praising the Palestinians for “standing alone” against it.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad is seeking to play a major role against US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.” At the same time, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force has issued a message calling for resistance against the plan and praising the Palestinians for “standing alone” against it. Iranian media reported on a speech by PIJ leader Khader Habib in Gaza's Deir al-Balah this week, in which he said that the Palestinians must not give up one inch of territory to the “conspiracy” that is Trump’s deal. He also slammed Jews and Zionists. Islamic Jihad claims Jerusalem is a “purely Islamic city” and that all of the land from the “river to the sea” belongs to Palestinians. He argued that the “Deal of the Century” will fail. The first option for PIJ is resistance and to realize national unity. “We will continue to oppose the deal in all its forms, and regain our rights and not surrender to the usurper, the Trump regime.” (Jerusalem Post)

01-28-2020
Terrorism

An Israeli cybersecurity firm said it believes a new strain of ransomware was created by Iran and has the ability to lock up or even delete industrial control systems.

An Israeli cybersecurity firm said it believes a new strain of ransomware was created by Iran and has the ability to lock up or even delete industrial control systems. Tel Aviv-based Otorio, a cybersecurity firm which specializes in industrial control systems (ICS), said that the ransomware called “Snake,” like others of its kind, encrypts programs and documents on infected machines. But it also removes all file copies from infected stations, preventing the victims from recovering encrypted files. Snake, which was recently discovered, searches for hundreds of specific programs -- including many industrial processes that belong to General Electric Co. -- in order to terminate them and allow it to encrypt the files, Otorio said. (Bloomberg)

01-28-2020
Military

Iran is apparently trying to launch a satellite into space despite a string of failures last year and U.S. concerns that the program is acting as a front for ballistic missile development.

Iran is apparently trying to launch a satellite into space despite a string of failures last year and U.S. concerns that the program is acting as a front for ballistic missile development. Images taken from space Sunday appear to show an increase in activity at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province. The photos, which were annotated by experts at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, show an apparent influx of cars and work activity at a launchpad, suggesting Iran might be repairing the damaged site. The activity depicted in the images has, in the past, signaled an impending launch. (Fox News)

01-28-2020
Nuclear Program

A group of Iranian lawmakers asked parliament to debate a motion for Iran to quit a treaty governing global nuclear arms control, a move apparently aimed at pressuring European powers to salvage Tehran's own 2015 nuclear deal.

A group of Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday asked parliament to debate a motion for Iran to quit a treaty governing global nuclear arms control, a move apparently aimed at pressuring European powers to salvage Tehran's own 2015 nuclear deal. A report on the assembly's news site ICANA said a minimum number of MPs had signed a request to parliament's managers to arrange a debate on the motion for Iran to take the far-reaching step of leaving the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said last week that Iran could withdraw from the NPT if European countries refer the country to the U.N. Security Council over the 2015 deal, a move that would overturn diplomacy in Tehran's turbulent relations with Western powers. (Reuters)

01-27-2020
Terrorism

Israel's Channel 12 reported that cyber-attacks originating from Iran were among the 800 distinct cyber-attacks on Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and planes of world leaders arriving in Israel to attend Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on 23 January.

Israel's Channel 12 on Sunday reported that cyber-attacks originating from Iran were among the 800 distinct cyber-attacks on Israel's Ben Gurion Airport and planes of world leaders arriving in Israel to attend Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial on 23 January. According to The Times of Israel on Sunday Channel 12 cited officials from the Airports Authority Cyber Division in a report that said last week, when world leaders including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Russian President Vladimir Putin were arriving in Israel to attend the memorial, more than 800 cyber-attacks targeted Israel's international airport and the planes landing there. Channel 12, also known as Keshet 12, is a free-to-air television owned by a media group of the same name. The report said the attacks originated in Iran, China, North Korea, Russia and Poland but since preparations had been made ahead of the momentous event for Israel, the threats were neutralized by Israel's cyber defense, Hercules. (Radio Farda)

01-25-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium at any percentage if Iranian authorities decide to do so, the deputy head of the country’s nuclear agency said in a report posted on its website on Saturday.

Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium at any percentage if Iranian authorities decide to do so, the deputy head of the country’s nuclear agency said in a report posted on its website on Saturday. “At the moment, if (Iranian authorities) make the decision, the Atomic Energy Organization, as the executor, will be able to enrich uranium at any percentage,” Ali Asghar Zarean said. Iran said earlier this month it would scrap limitations on enriching uranium, taking a further step back from commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers, but pledged to continue cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog. (Reuters)

01-25-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile has far exceeded the level allowed by its international nuclear deal, an aide to Iran’s nuclear chief said on Saturday.

Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile has far exceeded the level allowed by its international nuclear deal, an aide to Iran’s nuclear chief said on Saturday. Ali Asghar Zarean said that Iran has stockpiled 1,200 kilograms, or about 2,600 pounds, which is well beyond what the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers allowed. “Iran is increasing its stockpile of the enriched uranium with full speed,” he said. The claim has not been verified by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog. (Associated Press)

01-23-2020
Politics

Leaders of Iran's reformist parties say the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections will come as no surprise as nearly all of the well-known reformist candidates have been disqualified by the hardliner-dominated Guardian Council.

Leaders of Iran's reformist parties say the results of the upcoming parliamentary elections will come as no surprise as nearly all of the well-known reformist candidates have been disqualified by the hardliner-dominated Guardian Council. They said at the end of a meeting on Wednesday January 22 that unless there is a meaningful revision in the results of the vetting, reformists have no one to represent them in many constituencies, semi-official news agency ISNA reported on Thursday. From among around 15,000 candidates only 60 low-key reformist figures have been qualified to run for the February 21 election. (Radio Farda)

01-22-2020
Syria Conflict

Iranian-backed Shi’ite factions have exhorted Iraqis to turn out for a “million-strong” march aimed at whipping up anti-American sentiment as the United States’ struggle with Iran plays out on the streets of Baghdad.

Iranian-backed Shi’ite factions have exhorted Iraqis to turn out for a “million-strong” march on Friday aimed at whipping up anti-American sentiment as the United States’ struggle with Iran plays out on the streets of Baghdad. Those behind the rally have two goals in mind - to pressure Washington to pull its troops out of Iraq, and to eclipse the mass anti-government protests that have challenged their grip on power. It is likely to end up at the gates of the U.S. Embassy, the seat of U.S. power in Iraq and the scene of violent clashes last month when militia supporters tried to storm the compound. It could turn nasty again. (Reuters)

01-21-2020
Extremism

An Iranian lawmaker offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed U.S. President Donald Trump and said Iran could avoid threats if it had nuclear arms, ISNA news agency reported amid Tehran’s latest standoff with Washington.

An Iranian lawmaker offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed U.S. President Donald Trump and said Iran could avoid threats if it had nuclear arms, ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday amid Tehran’s latest standoff with Washington. U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as “ridiculous”, telling reporters in Geneva it showed the “terrorist underpinnings” of Iran’s establishment. Tensions have escalated since Trump in 2018 pulled the United States out of a multilateral 2015 agreement meant to contain Iran’s nuclear program, saying it was flawed, then reimposed heavy U.S. sanctions on Tehran. The standoff erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes earlier this month. (Reuters)

01-20-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran threatened to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if European countries bring alleged violations of the historic nuclear deal with world powers to the United Nations Security Council.

Iran threatened to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if European countries bring alleged violations of the historic nuclear deal with world powers to the United Nations Security Council. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued the warning on Monday saying the Islamic Republic could take other steps before withdrawing from the NPT, without specifying them. "If the Europeans continue their improper behaviour or send Iran's file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT," Zarif said in comments carried by Iranian news agencies. (Al Jazeera)

01-19-2020
Military

Iran said that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation’s space center for eventual launch, without elaborating.

Iran said Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation’s space center for eventual launch, without elaborating. Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted about the development, calling it an “important research step.” Iran has not said when it will launch the satellites, but often coordinates its launches with national holidays. It will celebrate the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution next month. (Associated Press)

01-18-2020
Syria Conflict

A missile attack launched by Shiite rebels in Yemen hit an army camp, killing at least 60 troops and injuring dozens of others, Yemeni officials and Saudi state television said.

A missile attack launched by Shiite rebels in Yemen hit an army camp Saturday, killing at least 60 troops and injuring dozens of others, Yemeni officials and Saudi state television said. The strike in the central province of Marib wounded about 10 others. Officials said they expected the death toll to rise as burn victims were rushed to hospitals. Marib lies about 70 miles (115 kilometers) east of the capital, Sanaa. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media. (Associated Press)

01-17-2020
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s supreme leader struck a defiant tone in a rare Friday public sermon, calling the United States an “arrogant power” and telling tens of thousands of chanting worshipers that God’s backing had allowed his country to “slap the face” of the U.S.

Iran’s supreme leader struck a defiant tone in a rare public sermon on Friday, calling the United States an “arrogant power” and telling tens of thousands of chanting worshipers that God’s backing had allowed his country to “slap the face” of the United States. In his first such address in eight years, the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sought to rally supporters and undermine critics after weeks of turbulence in the Middle East that brought Iran and the United States to the brink of war and prompted street protests in Iran over the accidental downing of a civilian jetliner by Iranian forces. Ayatollah Khamenei offered only scant condolences to the families who lost relatives in the crash, and instead sought to project strength. He dismissed protesters as “stooges of the United States,” lauded Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s foreign operations chief who was killed in an American drone strike, and praised a retaliatory Iranian missile attack on United States forces in Iraq. (New York Times)

01-16-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the country is now enriching more uranium than it was before a 2015 deal with world powers that was supposed to scale back its nuclear activities, and in particular enrichment.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday the country is now enriching more uranium than it was before a 2015 deal with world powers that was supposed to scale back its nuclear activities, and in particular enrichment. “We are enriching more uranium than before the deal was reached,” Rouhani said in a televised speech according to the Reuters news agency. “Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress.” Rouhani also said he is working “daily to prevent war” as relations between Tehran and Washington go through a new period of maximum tension. (Times of Israel)

01-16-2020
Terrorism

Two men have been sentenced to prison on charges in connection with working on behalf of the government of Iran to monitor a Jewish center in Chicago and Americans who are members of an exiled Iranian opposition group.

Two men have been sentenced to prison on charges in connection with working on behalf of the government of Iran to monitor a Jewish center in Chicago and Americans who are members of an exiled Iranian opposition group. Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 39, a dual Iranian-U.S. citizen, was sentenced to 38 months in prison on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington after pleading guilty Oct. 8 to one count of conspiracy and one count of acting as an undeclared agent of the Iranian government. Majid Ghorbani, 60, an Iranian citizen and U.S. permanent resident living in Costa Mesa, Calif., was sentenced to 30 months in prison by Friedman on one count of violating U.S. sanctions by giving photographs to Doostdar that he knew Doostdar would take to Iran, according to court records. (Washington Post)

01-15-2020
Politics

Iran’s president slammed the disqualification of thousands of people, including 90 current lawmakers, from running in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Iran’s president Wednesday slammed the disqualification of thousands of people, including 90 current lawmakers, from running in upcoming parliamentary elections. Although hard-liners were among those disqualified by the powerful Guardian Council, most of those rejected were reformist and moderate candidates, according to Tehran’s reformist newspaper Etemad. President Hassan Rouhani appeared to confirm this in his stinging critique of the council, which barred more than 9,000 from the over 14,000 people who had registered to run. Among them are 90 sitting lawmakers out of some 247 who registered to run for re-election. (Associated Press)

01-15-2020
Human Rights

Iranian social media users reported that warnings issued by intelligence and security forces and heavy riot police presence on the streets has forced students to call off planned rallies in Tehran on the fifth day of protests in the country.

Iranian social media users on Wednesday reported that warning issued by intelligence and security forces and heavy riot police presence on the streets has forced students to call off planned rallies in Tehran on the fifth day of protests in the country. Since early afternoon social media users posted pictures and videos of large groups of security forces and fully-geared riot police around the capital's major universities, describing it as "laying siege to universities". Later on they reported that under heavy pressure students have called off their planned rallies at Tehran and Amir Kabir universities. (Radio Farda)

01-15-2020
Nuclear Program

Israel’s army intelligence says Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce one nuclear bomb by the end of the year.

Israel’s army intelligence says Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce one nuclear bomb by the end of the year. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not let Iran become a nuclear power. Israeli military analysts say that by the end of 2020 Iran will have enough enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. The assessment comes after recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran brought them to the brink of war. The United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and Israeli intelligence officials speculated that Iran would resume its efforts to acquire a nuclear bomb. Israeli army intelligence officials based their calculation on their assessment that it takes 40 kilograms of 90-percent enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb. Iran announced several months ago that it no longer considered itself bound by the nuclear deal and would step up enrichment efforts. (Voice of America)

01-15-2020
Syria Conflict

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said European troops stationed in the Middle East could be in danger, suggesting that a collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal would threaten the region’s stability and security.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said European troops stationed in the Middle East could be in danger, suggesting that a collapse of the 2015 nuclear deal would threaten the region’s stability and security. The remarks come a day after Britain, France and Germany took the first steps toward reimposing sanctions on Iran following the sharp increase in tensions after the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Tehran’s attacks on military bases in Iraq that house U.S. troops. “The American soldier today is not secure. Tomorrow, the European soldier could be insecure too,” Mr. Rouhani told his weekly cabinet meeting, according to Iranian state media Wednesday. “Stop making mistakes!” Mr. Rouhani said. “Return and choose a path that is in favor of the stability and security of the region.” (Wall Street Journal)

01-14-2020
Military

Surveillance video from Iran circulating on social media appears to show two missiles hitting the Ukrainian passenger jet downed over Tehran, fired approximately 30 seconds apart, providing new information about the tragedy that killed 176 people.

Surveillance video from Iran circulating on social media Tuesday appears to show two missiles hitting the Ukrainian passenger jet downed over Tehran, fired approximately 30 seconds apart, providing new information about the tragedy that killed 176 people on the plane. The video was verified by Storyful, a social-media-intelligence company owned by News Corp, parent of Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones. It raises new questions about how forthcoming Iranian authorities were when, after three days of denial, they admitted they had mistakenly struck the Ukraine International Airlines flight without mentioning a second missile. It also possibly answers the question of why the Ukrainian airliner’s transponder stopped working before being hit by the missile that apparently brought the jet down last week. (Wall Street Journal)

01-14-2020
Military

Iran’s Tasnim news website close to the Revolutionary Guard has published new photos it claims to show “missile cities”, where “solid fuel” rockets are housed.

Iran’s Tasnim news website close to the Revolutionary Guard has published new photos it claims to show “missile cities”, where “solid fuel” rockets are housed. Tasnim also said that out of 15 missiles fired at U.S. bases in Iraq on January 8, two fell on Iranian territory, apparently due to technical malfunction. The release of photos by Tasnim coincides with the decision of the United Kingdom, France and Germany to trigger the dispute mechanism of the 2015 nuclear deal as a response to Iran gradually reducing its commitments. (Radio Farda)

01-13-2020
Syria Conflict

U.S. commanders at the Iraqi military base targeted by Iranian missiles said they believe the attack was intended to kill American personnel, an act that could have pushed the two powers closer to outright war.

U.S. commanders at the Iraqi military base targeted by Iranian missiles said Monday they believe the attack was intended to kill American personnel, an act that could have pushed the two powers closer to outright war. The missile barrage last week against the sprawling Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq left deep craters and the crumpled wreckage of living quarters and a helicopter launch site. At least two soldiers were thrown through the window of a meters-high tower, and several dozen U.S. troops were later treated for concussion as a result of the missile strikes, military officials on the base said. "These were designed and organized to inflict as many casualties as possible," said Lt. Col. Tim Garland, commander of Task Force Jazeera and one of the most senior officials on the base that day. (Washington Post)

01-13-2020
Human Rights

Accusations of lethal force against protesters in Iran should be fully investigated, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Accusations of lethal force against protesters in Iran should be fully investigated, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, saying reports of violence against those protesting the downing of a civilian airliner were “worrying.” “We’re obviously following very closely the demonstrations that have been taking place today and over the weekend in Iran and the Secretary-General recalls the rights to freedom of expression and association in peaceful assembly of people,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. Protesters denouncing Iran’s clerical rulers took to the streets and riot police deployed to face them on Monday, in a third day of demonstrations after authorities acknowledged accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane. (Reuters)

01-13-2020
Human Rights

Protesters took to the streets of Iran to denounce the country’s clerical rulers and riot police deployed to face them in a third day of demonstrations after authorities acknowledged shooting down a passenger plane by mistake.

Protesters took to the streets of Iran to denounce the country’s clerical rulers and riot police deployed to face them in a third day of demonstrations on Monday after authorities acknowledged shooting down a passenger plane by mistake. Iran’s president called last week’s downing of the Ukrainian plane a “disastrous mistake” on Saturday, and said its air defenses responded in error while on alert after Iran carried out missile strikes on U.S. targets in Iraq. Iranian public anger, rumbling for days after Tehran had repeatedly denied it was to blame for the plane crash, erupted when the military admitted its role. (Reuters)

01-11-2020
Extremism

Students at Iran’s Islamic Azad University are being offered a novel new career choice — suicide terrorist.

Students at Iran’s Islamic Azad University are being offered a novel new career choice — suicide terrorist. Leaflets are being distributed at the influential school urging students to sign up for Jihad missions against the United States and Israel to avenge the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. “Registration for volunteers to commit a suicide attack against the United States and Israel,” it blares. “Hard revenge is underway for those criminals who killed Qassem Soleimani.” (New York Post)

01-09-2020
Anti-Americanism

A commander of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps declared that Iran would soon take “harsher revenge” on the United States for a drone strike last week that killed a top Iranian general.

A day after President Trump backed away from further military conflict with Iran, a commander of the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps declared that Iran would soon take “harsher revenge” on the United States for a drone strike last week that killed a top Iranian general. But another Iranian military leader said his country’s missile attacks targeting Americans in Iraq this week had not been intended to kill anyone. The remarks were just some of the mixed messages put forth by Iranian leaders on Thursday after Iranian missile strikes, which hit two military bases in Iraq housing American troops. On Thursday the commander of the Revolution Guards air force, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, described the strikes on the bases in Iraq as just the beginning of “a major operation” against the United States, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, but he also noted that the strikes had not aimed to kill anyone. He quickly followed up with the claim that “tens of people were killed and wounded,” a point disputed by American, Iraqi and other international accounts. A senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, Abdollah Araghi, said on Thursday that Iran’s armed forces would “impose harsher revenge on the enemy in the near future,” according to Tasnim. (New York Times)

01-09-2020
Military

U.S., Canadian and U.K. officials believe that a Ukrainian commercial aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, was downed by a missile system fired by Iran, possibly by mistake.

U.S., Canadian and U.K. officials believe that a Ukrainian commercial aircraft that crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board, was downed by a missile system fired by Iran, possibly by mistake. “We have a high level of confidence that this was shot down by Iran,” one U.S. official said Thursday. The official said the plane was being tracked moments before it went down by Iranian radar used to aim missiles. A second official said the U.S. believes Iran may have downed the aircraft by mistake. The first official identified the weapon as a Russian-made SA-15 surface-to-air missile system, also referred to as the Gauntlet. Iran disputed the accusation, which a government spokesman called a “big lie.” (Wall Street Journal)

01-08-2020
Terrorism

Hackers looking to breach US computer networks sharply intensified their efforts following the death of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, but have had limited success, according to internet security researchers and state government officials.

Hackers looking to breach US computer networks sharply intensified their efforts following the death of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, but have had limited success, according to internet security researchers and state government officials. Soon after the strike that killed Soleimani, Iran-based attempts to hack federal, state and local government websites jumped 50% — and then continued to accelerate, said network security company Cloudflare Over the course of 48 hours, attacks traced to Iranian IP addresses nearly tripled against targets around the world, Cloudflare said, peaking at half a billion attempts per day. (CNN)

01-07-2020
Extremism

Iran has been considering 13 “revenge scenarios” in retaliation for a U.S. strike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraqi, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shimkani said, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Iran has been considering 13 “revenge scenarios” in retaliation for a U.S. strike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraqi, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said on Tuesday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. “The Americans should know that until now 13 revenge scenarios have been discussed in the council and even if there is consensus on the weakest scenario carrying it out can be a historic nightmare for the Americans,” Ali Shamkhani said. (Reuters)

01-07-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran retaliated for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani by firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces. Washington and Tehran both confirmed that Iran was the source of the missiles.

Iran retaliated for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani by firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces on Wednesday local time. Washington and Tehran both confirmed that Iran was the source of the missiles. The extent the damage was unclear. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the strikes were a "slap in the face" to the U.S. and not sufficient retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, a top general, last week. (NBC News)

01-05-2020
Nuclear Program

“Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production, including enrichment capacity,” the Iranian government said in an announcement that seemed to signal the de facto collapse of the 2015 agreement.

The consequences of the American killing of a top Iranian general rippled across the Middle East and beyond on Sunday, with Iran all but abandoning a landmark nuclear agreement and Iraqi lawmakers voting to expel American forces from their country. Steeling for retaliation from Iran, an American-led coalition in Iraq and Syria suspended the campaign it has waged against the Islamic State for years, as hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the street to mourn the general, Qassim Suleimani. “Iran’s nuclear program will have no limitations in production, including enrichment capacity,” the Iranian government said in an announcement Sunday that seemed to signal the de facto collapse of the 2015 agreement. (New York Times)

01-03-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran promised vengeance after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad killed Qassem Soleimani, Tehran’s most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East.

Iran promised vengeance after a U.S. air strike in Baghdad on Friday killed Qassem Soleimani, Tehran’s most prominent military commander and the architect of its growing influence in the Middle East. Soleimani, a 62-year-old general who headed the elite Quds Force, was regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The overnight attack, authorized by President Donald Trump, was a dramatic escalation in a “shadow war” in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the strike aimed to disrupt an “imminent attack” that would have endangered Americans in the Middle East. Democratic critics said the Republican president had raised the risk of more violence in a dangerous region. (Reuters)

12-31-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran-backed militiamen and their supporters protesting against deadly U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in an unprecedented attack on an American diplomatic mission in the country.

Militiamen and their supporters protesting against deadly U.S. air strikes on Iraq hurled stones and torched a security post at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday in an unprecedented attack on an American diplomatic mission in the country. Embassy guards responded with stun grenades and tear gas after the attackers stormed and burned the security post at the entrance but did not breach the main compound. The incident marked a sharp escalation of the proxy conflict between Washington and Tehran - both influential players in Iraq - while mass protests are challenging Iraq’s own political system nearly 17 years after the U.S. invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. It comes after months of security incidents in the region for which both sides have traded blame. (Reuters)

12-27-2019
Military

China, Russia and Iran began a four-day joint military exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman amid ongoing friction in the economically important region between Tehran and Washington.

China, Russia and Iran began a four-day joint military exercise in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman on Friday amid ongoing friction in the economically important region between Tehran and Washington. The Gulf of Oman has been a focal point of geopolitical tensions in 2019, after two oil tankers were attacked in the narrow strait in June by an unidentified party. The US blamed Iran for the attack but Tehran denied the allegations. Then in July, Iran detained a British oil tanker, the Stena Impero, for two months. The vessels planned to leave Iran's Chabahar port in the Gulf of Oman, before being deployed across areas in the north of the Indian Ocean, Second Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said earlier, according to Iran's state-run Press TV. (CNN)

12-27-2019
Syria Conflict

A U.S. civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, U.S. officials said, alleging that the Iran-backed militia Kata’ib Hezbollah was behind the attack.

A U.S. civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Friday, U.S. officials said. Several U.S. service members and Iraq personnel were also wounded, the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State said in a statement, adding that Iraqi security forces would be leading the response and investigation into the incident. U.S. officials said, on condition of anonymity, that the service members were lightly wounded and believed to be back on duty. (Reuters)

12-23-2019
Human Rights

The United States has confirmed a news report citing unnamed Iranian officials as saying about 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown by security forces on anti-government protests last month.

The United States has confirmed a news report citing unnamed Iranian officials as saying about 1,500 people were killed in a crackdown by security forces on anti-government protests last month. In a report published Monday, London-based Reuters said it obtained the death toll from three Iranian interior ministry officials who said the fatalities included "at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police." In a Monday tweet, the State Department quoted U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook as saying the Reuters report "underscores the urgency for the international community to punish the perpetrators and isolate the regime for the murder of 1,500 Iranian citizens." (VOA)

12-20-2019
Human Rights

Iran's Prosecutor General announced that "many of those detained" in the November protests across Iran have been indicted and their trials will begin next week.

Iran's Prosecutor General announced that "many of those detained" in the November protests across Iran have been indicted and their trials will begin next week. Mohammad Jafar Montazeri also said those who "could be freed" have already been released from prison. Iran has so far refused to disclose the number of the detainees or give any information about hundreds who were killed by the security forces' heavy-handed response to the protesters. Based on Radio Farda's data, at least 8,000 people were arrested in different cities across Iran between November 15, when the protests broke out, and December 5. Since then hundreds of more arrests have taken place. (Radio Farda)

12-19-2019
Human Rights

While 70 countries improved their human freedom ranking in the past year, Iran remained in the 154th place among the 162 countries in the Human Freedom Index (HFI).

While 70 countries improved their human freedom ranking in the past year, Iran remained in the 154th place among the 162 countries in the Human Freedom Index (HFI). The index which measures personal, civil and economic freedom at a global level, covers areas such as rule of law, security and safety, size of government, property rights, religion, civil society and expression. The HFI also found a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy and said Hong Kong is an outlier in this regard. The index which is the most comprehensive freedom index so far created for a globally meaningful set of countries covers 162 countries for 2017, the most recent year for which sufficient data are available. (Radio Farda)

12-19-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran President Hassan Rouhani said his country's nuclear experts have begun the testing of new, advanced IR-9 centrifuges for uranium enrichment, marking yet another violation of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran President Hassan Rouhani said his country's nuclear experts have begun the testing of new, advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment, marking yet another violation of the 2015 nuclear deal. Rouhani spoke to Iranian expats during a meeting Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, about the success of Iran’s current centrifuge model and the testing of a new prototype, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. “We have had great achievements and today, Iranian new IR-6 centrifuges are working and models IR-9 are currently being tested,” Rouhani is quoted as saying. The testing of new centrifuges for uranium enrichment is just Iran’s latest step away from its atomic accord with world powers since President Trump pulled America out of the 2015 nuclear deal. (Fox News)

12-18-2019
Human Rights

More than a month after the start of the latest round of anti-government protests in Iran, security forces are still arresting people in various cities, registering at least 650 new arrests in recent days.

More than a month after the start of the latest round of anti-government protests in Iran, security forces are still arresting people in various cities. The Police Chief in Kermanshah, Ali Akbar Javidan said on Wednesday December 18 that 250 more protesters have been arrested in that city. Elsewhere in Iran officials broke the news on Tuesday about more than 400 other arrests in Alborz Province near Tehran, as well as Khuzestan and Fars Provinces in the south. Although arbitrary arrests continue, there is still no official figure about the number of those detained during and after the protests that started on November 15 following a sudden three-fold rise in the price of gasoline. (Radio Farda)

12-16-2019
Human Rights

At least 304 people have been killed in Iran during anti-government unrest that broke out last month, Amnesty International said.

At least 304 people have been killed in Iran during anti-government unrest that broke out last month, Amnesty International said on Tuesday. Thousands have been arrested including children as young as 15 in a crackdown that followed the protests, London-based Amnesty said in a statement. “At least 304 people were killed and thousands were injured between 15 and 18 November as Iranian authorities crushed protests using lethal force,” it said. Amnesty said earlier this month that at least 208 were killed in the protests. Iranian authorities have dismissed Amnesty’s previous figures and have yet to give a death toll from the deadliest protests In Iran in decades. (Reuters)

12-11-2019
Syria Conflict

A senior U.S. military official said attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were gathering pace and becoming more sophisticated, pushing all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation.

A senior U.S. military official said on Wednesday attacks by Iranian-backed groups on bases hosting U.S. forces in Iraq were gathering pace and becoming more sophisticated, pushing all sides closer to an uncontrollable escalation. His warning came two days after four Katyusha rockets struck a base near Baghdad international airport, wounding five members of Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service. It was the latest in a spate of rocket strikes in the past five weeks on military installations hosting members of the U.S.-led coalition whose objective is to defeat Islamic State insurgents. The official said the attacks were jeopardizing the coalition’s ability to combat Islamic State insurgents. (Reuters)

12-10-2019
Military

President Hassan Rouhani’s administration announced Tuesday that two billion euros ($2.22 billion) will be taken from Iran's National Development Fund and given to the military, boosting its budget by 8 percent in the next Iranian calendar year.

President Hassan Rouhani’s administration announced Tuesday that two billion euros ($2.22 billion) will be taken from Iran's National Development Fund and given to the military, boosting its budget by 8 percent in the next Iranian calendar year. Iran is in the grip of a deep recession with a 9 percent contraction this year and faces serious problems with earning hard currency for vital imports. Last month, the government raised the price of gasoline, sparking mass protests that were crushed with killing at least 208 protesters and possibly many more. Security forces have jailed 8,000 protesters. The Rouhani government’s announcement is seen as a possible reaction to hardliners in Iran complaining that the budget of the military has slightly decreased in the proposed budget. (Radio Farda)

12-10-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran is building an underground tunnel in Eastern Syria to store missiles and large-scale weapons, according to satellite images obtained by Fox News and Western intelligence sources who reviewed the information.

Iran is building an underground tunnel to store missiles and large-scale weapons, according to satellite images obtained by Fox News and Western intelligence sources who reviewed the information. The structure, housed within the Imam Ali military base in Eastern Syria, is estimated to be nearly 400 feet long, 15 feet wide and 13 feet deep. The first image--taken by Image Sat International (ISI), an end-to-end geospatial intelligence solutions company, where construction of the tunnel can be seen--was captured on Oct. 5. Two weeks later, a shed was used to hide the tunnel entrance from the air. Large dirt piles appeared at the opposite end of the tunnel as excavations continue. (Fox News)

12-09-2019
Syria Conflict

Four rockets landed inside the Baghdad international airport, U.S. military officials have told Fox News, blaming Iran and its proxy forces for the attack.

Four rockets landed inside the Baghdad international airport Sunday night, U.S. military officials have told Fox News, blaming Iran and its proxy forces for the attack. The rockets hit a building called the Diplomatic Support Center, located on the opposite side of the airport from the civilian runway and passenger terminal where U.S. military personnel are present.  The rockets landed between 100 and 400 yards away from American troops and civilians, one official said. Five Iraq soldiers were wounded by shrapnel, the officials said.  It’s not clear how severe the injuries were. (Fox News)

12-09-2019
Human Rights

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, announced plans to replace the country’s internet with a state-run intranet, granting the government increased control over online activity.

Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, announced plans to replace the country’s internet with a state-run intranet, granting the government increased control over online activity. The announcement comes shortly after the Iranian government quelled mass protests by cutting off internet access across the country, CNET reports. With its own state-controlled network, Iran would be able to nip future protests in the bud by rapidly identifying dissidents and cutting them off from one another — a disturbing blow against online freedom and privacy. Rouhani framed the announcement as a matter of national autonomy, according to CNET. He told Parliament that “people will not need foreign [networks] to meet their needs,” and that the decision came straight down from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his superior within the federal government. (Futurism)

12-05-2019
Syria Conflict

More than a dozen people have been stabbed in a Baghdad square that has become a focal point for anti-government and anti-Iran protests after supporters of an Iranian-backed militia flooded the area.

More than a dozen people have been stabbed in a Baghdad square that has become a focal point for anti-government and anti-Iran protests after supporters of an Iranian-backed militia flooded the area. Thousands of men waving sticks, Iraqi flags and the insignia of the Hashd al-Shaabi armed group descended on Tahrir Square on Thursday morning in apparently coordinated marches from across the capital. Anti-government protesters who have been occupying the square for several weeks, some of whom are critical of Iranian influence in the country, said at least 15 people were stabbed before the militia-linked marchers withdrew by the late afternoon. (The Guardian)

12-05-2019
Human Rights

An investigation carried out by Radio Farda shows that around 8,000 protesters have been jailed following the protests that started on November 15 after a sudden three-fold hike in the price of gasoline.

Three weeks after the start of anti-government protests in Iran there are still conflicting reports on the number of arrests made by security forces. A member of the Iranian Parliament Hossein Naqavi Hosseini put the number at 7,000 as one of the official accounts. Iranian Judiciary officials have refused to provide any figures. It appears that they will announce the number after releasing most prisoners on bail, so that the number could be smaller and less embarrassing. As the usual practice in previous cases of major unrest in Iran has shown, the officials free the inmates with lesser charges on hefty bails and summon them to court later gradually. An investigation carried out by Radio Farda shows that around 8,000 protesters have been jailed following the protests that started on November 15 after a sudden three-fold hike in the price of gasoline. The protests quickly turned into anti-government demonstrations that were met by gunfire by security forces killing at least 208. (Radio Farda)

12-05-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran rejected pressure to shelve its ballistic missile program after a European letter to the U.N. Security Council accused Tehran of developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs.

Iran on Thursday rejected pressure to shelve its ballistic missile program after a European letter to the U.N. Security Council accused Tehran of developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear bombs. The British, German and French ambassadors to the Council, in a letter circulated on Wednesday, called on U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to tell the body in his next report that Iran’s missile program was “inconsistent” with a U.N. resolution underpinning the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers. Iran responded defiantly, saying it was determined to proceed with its missile program, which it has repeatedly described as defensive in purpose and nothing to do with its nuclear activity. “Iran is determined to resolutely continue its activities related to ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles,” Iranian U.N. envoy Majid Takhte Ravanchi said in a letter to Guterres. (Reuters)

12-04-2019
Syria Conflict

A U.S. Navy warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea, U.S. officials said, as Trump’s administration pressures Tehran to curb its activities in the region.

A U.S. Navy warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, as Trump’s administration pressures Tehran to curb its activities in the region. In a statement, the Pentagon confirmed that on Nov. 25 a U.S. warship found “advanced missile components” on a stateless vessel and an initial investigation indicated the parts were of Iranian origin. “A more thorough investigation is underway,” the statement said. U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the guided missile destroyer Forrest Sherman detained a small boat and a detachment of U.S. personnel boarded the vessel, where the missile parts were found. (Reuters)

12-04-2019
Terrorism

Iran’s state-sponsored hackers have deployed a new strain of malicious malware, warns IBM, which has been aimed at the “industrial and energy sectors” in the Middle East.

Iran’s state-sponsored hackers have deployed a new strain of malicious malware, warns IBM, which has been aimed at the “industrial and energy sectors” in the Middle East. No specific companies have been identified, but there’s no surprise in the nature of the attack. For Iran, its ongoing hybrid conflict with the U.S. and its allies has made these sectors a target. IBM has attributed the latest “destructive attacks” to Iran’s hyperactive APT34 “and at least one other group, [also] likely based out of Iran.” APT34 has hit the headlines a few times this year, including with a phishing attack using LinkedIn. But it’s the identity of that “one other group” that’s arguably more interesting. The sectoral targets and use of wiper malware points towards Iran’s APT33, arguably the best known of its threat actors. This is the group behind the Microsoft Outlook exploit in July, prompting a U.S. government warning, and which deployed its own VPN to veil “aggressive attacks” on U.S. and Middle East targets in the oil and gas sector. APT33 was also behind the infamous 2012 Shamoon attack on Saudi Aramco, an attack which erased the data on most of the company’s computers. (Forbes)

12-04-2019
Human Rights

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani claimed in a speech that some of the protesters who took to the streets across Iran in November had been "organized" by forces outside the country and promised Iranians that their "confessions will be aired" soon.

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani claimed in a speech on Wednesday that some of the protesters who took to the streets across Iran in November had been "organized" by forces outside the country and promised Iranians that their "confessions will be aired" soon. Speaking at a seminar at Tehran's Milad Tower the Iranian President alleged that these groups had been planning "for more than two years" to incite unrest during parliamentary elections (February 21) but took action sooner "by the order of their masters abroad" when protests against gasoline price hike gave them the opportunity. At the same time, Rouhani proposed to free all those detainees who were ordinary protesters, simply shouting slogan or “burning tires”. (Radio Farda)

12-04-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq, part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power.

Iran has used the continuing chaos in Iraq to build up a hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq, part of a widening effort to try to intimidate the Middle East and assert its power, according to American intelligence and military officials. The buildup comes as the United States has rebuilt its military presence in the Middle East to counter emerging threats to American interests, including attacks on oil tankers and facilities that intelligence officials have blamed on Iran. The missiles pose a threat to American allies and partners in the region, and could endanger American troops, the intelligence officials said. (New York Times)

12-03-2019
Human Rights

Iran acknowledged for the first time that its security forces shot and killed protesters across the country to put down demonstrations last month over the sharply spiking price of gasoline.

Iran acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that its security forces shot and killed protesters across the country to put down demonstrations last month over the sharply spiking price of gasoline, the deadliest unrest to hit the country since the turmoil of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A report by Iranian state television sought to portray those killed as “rioters” or foreign-backed insurgents who threatened military posts, oil tanks and the public. It acknowledged that the violence also killed passers-by, security forces and peaceful protesters without assigning blame. However, online videos of demonstrations purport to show security forces firing machine guns and rifles at crowds. Amnesty International believes the unrest beginning in mid-November and crackdown that followed killed at least 208 people. An Iranian judiciary official disputed the toll Tuesday as “sheer lies,” without offering any evidence to support his position. (Associated Press)

12-03-2019
Human Rights

Videos showing harrowing scenes of bleeding protesters, burning roadblocks and snipers on rooftops have emerged after Iran lifted a near-total internet blackout, opening a window onto what analysts say was one of Tehran's bloodiest crackdowns.

Videos showing harrowing scenes of bleeding protesters, burning roadblocks and snipers on rooftops have emerged after Iran lifted a near-total internet blackout, opening a window onto what analysts say was one of Tehran's bloodiest crackdowns. This repression "was harsher" than during previous protests in Iran, Kamran Matin, senior lecturer in International Relations at Sussex University in Britain, told AFP in Nicosia. "All the videos I have seen from before the internet was shut down show that from the moment of the gathering of people to 'shoot to kill' was very short." (Asharq Al-Awsat)

12-03-2019
Syria Conflict

There is fresh intelligence of a potential Iranian threat against US forces and interests in the Middle East, according to several US defense and administration officials.

There is fresh intelligence of a potential Iranian threat against US forces and interests in the Middle East, according to several US defense and administration officials. "There has been consistent intelligence in the last several weeks," one administration official told CNN A second official described it as information that has been gathered throughout November. The information is being gathered by military and intelligence agencies The officials would not say in what format the intelligence exists. But in the last several weeks there has been movement of Iranian forces and weapons that the US worries could be put in place for a potential attack, if one is ordered by the Iranian regime, the officials said. It's not clear if a potential threat would come from the central government or Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (CNN)

12-02-2019
Anti-Americanism

An Iranian general has warned that Iran’s missile arsenals are aimed at 21 American military bases in the Middle East and the country is prepared for “the greatest war against the greatest enemy.”

An Iranian general has warned that Iran’s missile arsenals are aimed at 21 American military bases in the Middle East and the country is prepared for “the greatest war against the greatest enemy.” In a November 29 speech, at an event in the southern city of Bushehr commemorating 40 years since the establishment of the Basij paramilitary force, Gen. Allahnoor Noorollahi also said that Iran had the ability to raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground. Noorollahi serves as a top adviser to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Officers College. His speech was broadcast on Bushehr TV, and was reported on and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute. (Times of Israel)

12-02-2019
Human Rights

Two weeks after the deadliest anti-regime protests in the four-decade history of the Islamic Republic, there are several reports on the "grave condition" of detained protesters, especially underage and child prisoners.

Two weeks after the deadliest anti-regime protests in the four-decade history of the Islamic Republic, there are several reports on the "grave condition" of detained protesters, especially underage and child prisoners. Citing "informed sources" in Sanandaj, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network KHRN reported that more than 100 of the detained protesters are held under grueling conditions in a military base run by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). There are also several underage and schoolchildren among the detainees; the sources told KHRN. Furthermore, the Kurdish human rights organization, Hengaw, reported that the Islamic Republic intelligence agents detained three under-eighteen-year-old brothers in Kermanshah, western Iran. The family of the detainees have no information about the condition and whereabouts of their loved ones, Hengaw said. The brothers have been identified as Mohammad Naderi's sons, fourteen-year-old Sajjad, sixteen-year-old Parham, and eighteen-year-old Pouria Naderi. (Radio Farda)

11-25-2019
Syria Conflict

Iranian officials looking to hit back at the U.S. over crippling economic sanctions and its withdrawal from a nuclear deal initially considered attacking American bases before launching airstrikes on a massive Saudi Arabian oil facility instead.

Iranian officials looking to hit back at the U.S. over crippling economic sanctions and its withdrawal from a nuclear deal initially considered attacking American bases before launching airstrikes on a massive Saudi Arabian oil facility instead, a new report claims. The decision to target the facility owned by Saudi Arabia’s Aramco state-run oil company on Sept. 14 came after top Iranian military officials huddled for a series of meetings in Tehran – one of which was attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who ultimately signed off on the attack, officials familiar with the discussions told Reuters. “It is time to take out our swords and teach them a lesson,” a senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps unit reportedly said during the first gathering in May. The officials told Reuters that the military brass assembled for at least five meetings at a heavily fortified compound in Tehran. They initially weighed striking a Saudi Arabian seaport, an airport and U.S. military installations, but scrapped the ideas over fears that they would prompt mass casualties and a harsh response from the U.S., the officials added. (Fox News)

11-25-2019
Human Rights

Iran rejected a U.S. court order for a Washington Post reporter to be paid $180 million in damages for Tehran jailing him on espionage charges.

Iran on Monday rejected a U.S. court order for a Washington Post reporter to be paid $180 million in damages for Tehran jailing him on espionage charges. Jason Rezaian spent 544 days in an Iranian prison before he was released in January 2016 in exchange for seven Iranians held in the United States. On Friday, a U.S. district court judge ordered damages be paid to Rezaian and his family in compensation for pain and suffering as well as economic losses. The order, from U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, did not lay out specifically how the money should be paid to Rezaian — be it from Iran or possibly from a fund established by the U.S. government to compensate victims of state sponsored terrorism. That fund has previously been used to distribute money to victims of Iran's 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in the Iranian capital. (CBS News)

11-25-2019
Human Rights

Amnesty International said that the toll of protesters killed by the Iranian security forces has reached at least 143 since demonstrations broke out on November 15.

Amnesty International said Monday that the toll of protesters killed by the Iranian security forces has reached at least 143 since demonstrations broke out on November 15. The deaths have resulted almost entirely from the intentional use of firearms by the security forces - though one man was reported to have died after inhaling tear gas and another after being beaten, said the London-based human rights group. The death toll could be significantly higher, it added. “The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research and Advocacy Director. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

11-25-2019
Anti-Americanism

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened the U.S. and its allies as he addressed a pro-government demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people denouncing last week’s violent protests over a fuel price hike.

The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened the U.S. and its allies Monday as he addressed a pro-government demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people denouncing last week’s violent protests over a fuel price hike. Gen. Hossein Salami, echoing other Iranian officials, accused the U.S., Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia of stoking the unrest. He said the rise in gasoline prices was a “mere pretext” for an attack on the nation. “If you cross our red line, we will destroy you,” he said. “We will not leave any move unanswered.” He said if Iran decides to respond, “the enemy will not have security anywhere,” adding that “our patience has a limit.” (Associated Press)

11-23-2019
Military

Iran has showcased a new generation of "Mersad-16" missile system during a military exercise in Semnan Province, southeast of Tehran, IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran has showcased a new generation of "Mersad-16" missile system during a military exercise in Semnan Province, southeast of Tehran, IRGC-linked Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday November 23. According to Tasnim, the system was successfully used against drones and other forms of unmanned flying objects. The report says the new generation of Mersad-16 missile systems are mobile, use new radars and launcher boxes, and can work also with the newly showcased missile Shalamcheh-2. Mersad is Iran's "first one hundred percent locally manufactured missile system," Tasnim noted, adding that it is an improved version of the U.S. MIM-23 system. (Radio Farda)

11-21-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran is continuing construction on an army base along the Iraq-Syria border, according to satellite images taken Sunday and obtained by Fox News.

Iran is continuing construction on an army base along the Iraq-Syria border, according to satellite images taken Sunday and obtained by Fox News. The base in eastern Syria had been partially destroyed during airstrikes in early September, said the report. But it stressed that the new images, examined by analysts at ImageSat International (ISI), showed eight zones of construction or reconstruction. Each zone had hangers big enough to conceal trucks and large quantities of equipment. There also was a checkpoint on both sides of the compound with fortified walls around the complex, said Fox News. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

11-21-2019
Nuclear Program

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency says Iran has not provided additional details about the discovery of uranium particles of man-made origin at a location that had not been declared.

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency says Iran has not provided additional details about the discovery of uranium particles of man-made origin at a location that had not been declared. Cornel Feruta, the acting director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told its board of governors Thursday that a meeting in Tehran was planned for next week to discuss the issue. Feruta reported to IAEA member states two weeks ago that his inspectors had confirmed traces of uranium “at a location in Iran not declared to the agency,” which appeared to confirm allegations made by the U.S. and Israel about a secret nuclear warehouse. (Associated Press)

11-20-2019
Human Rights

Iran's shutdown of domestic Internet access as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests has stretched beyond four days, an unprecedented outage that has caused growing harm to the economy.

Iran's shutdown of domestic Internet access as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests has stretched beyond four days, an unprecedented outage that has caused growing harm to the economy. "Digital rights are human rights: access must be restored to all Iranians," the group added. Iranian authorities imposed the shutdown to stop opposition activists from communicating and posting online images of nationwide protests that erupted last Friday in response to the government's abrupt 50% increase in the subsidized price of gasoline. The protests had spread to more than 50 urban centers in Iran by Saturday, according to images received from Iran and verified by VOA Persian. (VOA)

11-20-2019
Military

A new public report, details how the 40-year-old Islamic regime boosts its relatively weak conventional forces with “a hybrid approach to warfare” that relies on missiles, naval forces, and proxies to threaten its neighbors.

A new public report, Iran’s Military Power, produced by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, details how the 40-year-old Islamic regime boosts its relatively weak conventional forces with “a hybrid approach to warfare” that relies on missiles, naval forces, and proxies to threaten its neighbors. “Iran's military strategy is primarily based on deterrence and the ability to retaliate against an attacker,” said Christian Saunders, a senior Iran analyst with the DIA at a briefing for reporters at the Pentagon yesterday. “Iran probably will continue to focus on the domestic development of increasingly capable missiles, naval platforms and weapons, and air defenses while it attempts to upgrade some of its deteriorating air and ground capabilities primarily through foreign purchases.” The report cited the Iranian military’s three core capabilities: a vast arsenal of ballistic missiles, naval forces capable of threatening navigation, and the use of partners and proxies abroad. The report also breaks out a number of categories, as follows. (Washington Examiner)

11-20-2019
Human Rights

Tehran used arrests, deadly force and a prolonged internet blackout to contain nationwide protests that pose the most serious test in years for Iran’s leaders.

Tehran used arrests, deadly force and a prolonged internet blackout to contain nationwide protests that pose the most serious test in years for Iran’s leaders. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said demonstrations over higher fuel prices had been suppressed, but the government’s sweeping internet shutdown made it difficult to assess the state of protests that Amnesty International said left more than 100 people dead in five days. Tehran’s response came as the Islamic Republic faces new problems around the region, where demonstrators in Iraq and Lebanon are trying to dilute Iranian influence, and Israel is stepping up airstrikes targeting Iranian forces in Syria. (Wall Street Journal)

11-19-2019
Nuclear Program

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says Iran has breached another limit in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers by stockpiling more heavy water than the accord allowed.

The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says Iran has breached another limit in its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers by stockpiling more heavy water than the accord allowed. The International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that Iran informed it on Nov. 16 that it had surpassed the 130 tons (143.3 U.S. tons) allowed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The agency confirmed Nov. 17 that Iran’s stockpile had reached 131.5 tons. Heavy water helps cool reactors, producing plutonium as a byproduct that can be used in nuclear weapons. Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. (Associated Press)

11-19-2019
Military

Iran will likely buy new advanced fighter jets and tanks next year when a U.N. Security Council arms embargo is scheduled to be lifted.

Iran will likely buy new advanced fighter jets and tanks next year when a U.N. Security Council arms embargo is scheduled to be lifted, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday as the Defense Intelligence Agency released a new assessment of Iran’s military capabilities. The DIA report concludes Tehran is committed to becoming the dominant power in the Middle East, and it warns that the Islamic Republic is making rapid progress developing attack drones and other missile systems. The report comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the West in the wake of a series of attacks on commercial shipping vehicles and Saudi oil facilities this year that have been blamed on Tehran. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, an intelligence official said Iran would probably buy the tanks and aircraft from Russia and China. The U.S. has stringent economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic and those would likely continue even if the U.N. embargo is lifted. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. (Associated Press)

11-17-2019
Human Rights

Iran imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout, making one of its most draconian attempts to cut off Iranians from each other and the rest of the world.

Iran imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout on Sunday, making one of its most draconian attempts to cut off Iranians from each other and the rest of the world as widespread anti-government unrest roiled the streets of Tehran and other cities for a third day. The death toll for the three days of protests rose to at least 12; hundreds were injured; and more than 1,000 people have been arrested, according to semiofficial news agencies like Fars News. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader who has the last word on all state matters, called the demonstrators “thugs” and endorsed the government’s decision to raise prices it sets for rationed gasoline by 50 percent as of Friday and by 200 percent for gasoline that exceeds ration limits. Even after the price hike, gasoline in Iran is still cheaper than in most of the rest of the world — now the equivalent of about 50 cents a gallon. (New York Times)

11-16-2019
Military

Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Qassem Taqizadeh said that Tehran was working to expand the range of its cruise missiles and that it will soon be adding a home-grown laser air defense system to its arsenal.

Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Qassem Taqizadeh said Saturday that Tehran was working to expand the range of its cruise missiles and that it will soon be adding a home-grown laser air defense system to its arsenal. Taqizadeh said that Iran’s Defense Ministry was working on a new cruise missile prototype that will have “longer operational range and higher precision with the use of advanced digital and mapping technologies,” according to the semi-official Fars News Agency. He said the prototype would pass the testing stage in the near future. Taqizadeh also said that a project to produce a laser air defense system had recently been successfully completed and that Tehran was working to mass-produce the new weapon, Fars News reported. (Times of Israel)

11-14-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke at Iran’s 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference, delivering one of his strongest anti-US and anti-Israeli speeches ever.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke at Iran’s 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference on Nov. 14, delivering one of his strongest anti-US and anti-Israeli speeches ever. “No one doubts that [nothing good has come] from the arrogant powers and the United States,” Rouhani said at the annual conference, which brings Shiite and Sunni leaders and scholars together. He added, “In recent centuries, the source of every war, killing, bloodshed and conflict in the region has been the United States and the Zionist regime. From the killing of the people of Afghanistan to the killing of people in Iraq and Yemen to creating conflicts in various Muslim countries, they were all the plots of the United States in the region." Rouhani — who ran for president in 2013 primarily on the promise that through negotiations with Western countries such as the United States, Iran’s economic and political gridlock could be resolved — added, “Those who say the United States can be a solution — give us an example of which country the United States has helped.” (Al-Monitor)

11-14-2019
Nuclear Program

Former IAEA official Ollie Heinonen says diplomats working with the U.N. nuclear agency do not believe Iran’s apparent explanation for the presence of manmade uranium particles at a site in southern Tehran.

A former IAEA official says diplomats working with the U.N. nuclear agency do not believe Iran’s apparent explanation for the presence of manmade uranium particles at a site in southern Tehran. In a report published Monday, the IAEA said its inspectors monitoring Iranian compliance with commitments to curb potential weapons-related nuclear activities had “detected natural uranium particles of anthropogenic (manmade) origin at a location in Iran not declared to the agency.” The report, initially provided to IAEA member nations and later leaked to the media, did not identify the location of the particles or provide any other details about them. In an interview with VOA Persian, former IAEA Deputy Director General Ollie Heinonen said diplomats of multiple countries working with the IAEA told him that the agency’s inspectors found the uranium particles at a southern Tehran site previously identified by Israel as the location of an alleged secret nuclear warehouse. … “The diplomats told me the IAEA Secretariat described the particles as having been converted from raw uranium without specifying their exact chemical form,” Heinonen said. “They said these particles were not from yellowcake but from something more refined.” (VOA)

11-11-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran is enriching uranium at its underground Fordow site and rapidly accelerating enrichment more broadly, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed, outlining Tehran’s latest breaches of its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Iran is enriching uranium at its underground Fordow site and rapidly accelerating enrichment more broadly, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed on Monday, outlining Tehran’s latest breaches of its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. Iran is overstepping the deal’s limits on its nuclear activities one after the other in response to the United States’ withdrawal from the accord last year and its reimposition of sanctions that have crippled Iran’s oil trade. Tehran says it can quickly undo those breaches if those sanctions are removed. In perhaps its most symbolic breach yet, Iran said last week it had begun refining uranium at Fordow, a site built inside a mountain apparently to protect it from any aerial bombardment, and one that Tehran concealed from U.N. inspectors until 2009. (Reuters)

11-09-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60%, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday, far more than is required for most civilian uses but short of the 90% needed to make nuclear bomb fuel.

Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium up to 60%, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday, far more than is required for most civilian uses but short of the 90% needed to make nuclear bomb fuel. “The organization has the possibility to produce 5%, 20% and 60%, and has this capacity,” AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said during a news conference at the underground Fordow nuclear plant, the official IRIB news agency reported. “At the moment, the need is for 5%,” he added. (Reuters)

11-07-2019
Terrorism

Two men have pleaded guilty to acting as agents of Iran and spying on American citizens who oppose the Tehran regime and are part of the dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the Justice Department said.

Two men have pleaded guilty to acting as agents of Iran and spying on American citizens who oppose the Tehran regime and are part of the dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), the Justice Department said Wednesday. Dual citizen Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 39, admitted on Oct. 8 to one count of acting as an agent of Iran and one count of conspiring against the statute that requires notifying the Attorney General when acting as an agent of a foreign power. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 17 and faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and 10 years for acting as a foreign agent. Majid Ghorbani, 60, an Iranian citizen who lives in California, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. He is due to be sentenced Jan. 15. Prosecutors said Doostdar traveled to the United States in 2017 to give Ghorbani instructions on surveilling American citizens who are part of MEK, the DOJ said. (Fox News)

11-07-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran's influence and strategic capabilities in the Middle East are increasing despite the reimposition of crippling US sanctions and a faltering nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran's influence and strategic capabilities in the Middle East are increasing despite the reimposition of crippling US sanctions and a faltering nuclear deal with world powers, a new report has said. The Islamic Republic's ability to "fight by, with and through third parties" in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen has contributed to Iran's regional impact, a study by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) found. This has brought Iran more regional influence and status than its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, according to the 217-page report titled Iran's Networks of Influence in the Middle East. (Al-Jazeera)

11-07-2019
Politics

The Iranian government is under growing domestic pressure to pull out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty next year, the country’s ambassador to the UK has said.

The Iranian government is under growing domestic pressure to pull out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty next year, the country’s ambassador to the UK has said. Hamid Baeidinejad said it was government policy to remain in the treaty but there were growing calls to pull out next year, when it is due for renewal, as it required Iran to make one-sided commitments. “There are views by some circles, some personalities, that Iran has not benefited from membership of the [treaty] and it is time to withdraw,” he said, adding that Iran remained committed on religious grounds to not developing nuclear weapons. (The Guardian)

11-07-2019
Nuclear Program

The U.S. accused Iran of intimidating nuclear inspectors after a woman from the United Nations atomic agency was blocked from entering the country’s main enrichment site and briefly stopped from leaving the country.

The U.S. accused Iran of intimidating nuclear inspectors after a woman from the United Nations atomic agency was blocked from entering the country’s main enrichment site and briefly stopped from leaving the country, as tensions mounted over the 2015 nuclear deal. Western diplomats said on Thursday that the inspector had been held by Iranian authorities last week and her papers confiscated after she had been prevented from entering Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz, some 180 miles south of Tehran. The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Jackie Wolcott, called the move an “outrageous provocation” and harassment of the agency’s monitoring work. (Wall Street Journal)

11-06-2019
Human Rights

A former Iranian beauty queen has spoken of the toll on her mental health as she enters her fourth week stranded in a Philippines airport, fearing that she will be deported to Tehran and executed for criticising the Iran regime if her asylum claim fails.

A former Iranian beauty queen has spoken of the toll on her mental health as she enters her fourth week stranded in a Philippines airport, fearing that she will be deported to Tehran and executed for criticising the Iran regime if her asylum claim fails. “I’m not in good condition,” Bahareh Zare Bahari, 31, told the Guardian on Wednesday from Manila’s Ninoy Aquino international airport. “My hair has started falling [out, and is in] bad condition because of the stress. Sometimes mentally I become too sick … I have no privacy here, because there’s no door in the room, so I’m always worried when I want to change my clothes.” Bahari has been detained since 17 October after Iranian authorities put out a red notice about her to Interpol. The notice reportedly relates to an alleged offence committed in Iran, but Bahari – who is also a model and actress – said Tehran was seeking to extradite her to punish her for her politics. (The Guardian)

11-06-2019
Terrorism

Swedish authorities charged a 46-year-old Swedish Iraqi national with spying on Iran's behalf for several years by gathering information on members of the Ahvazi Arab exile community.

Swedish authorities charged a man on Wednesday with spying on Iran's behalf for several years. The man, a 46-year-old Swedish-Iraqi national, is suspected of gathering information on members of the Ahvazi Arab exile community for a four-year period between April 2015 and February 2019 when he was arrested. The Ahvazi are an Arab ethnic minority living in the southwest Iranian province of Khusestan. The minority group faces discrimination and persecution by authorities there, according to Amnesty International. Figures for the number of Ahvazi living in Sweden are not available. (Deutsche Welle)

11-06-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran is nearing a new atomic crisis after failing to cooperate with international inspectors investigating radioactive samples discovered at a site identified by Israel.

Iran is nearing a new atomic crisis after failing to cooperate with international inspectors investigating radioactive samples discovered at a site identified by Israel. The International Atomic Energy Agency's top inspector, Massimo Aparo, told diplomats in a closed-door meeting in Vienna on Wednesday that Iran is evading attempts to discover the source of man-made and natural uranium particles detected at a warehouse in Tehran earlier this year, according to two officials familiar with the briefing who asked not to be identified. IAEA acting Director General Cornel Feruta is convening an extraordinary meeting of the 35-member board of governors Thursday to discuss the new concerns. The Romanian diplomat said only last month that Iran had taken "a step in the right direction" in attempting to clarify matters troubling inspectors. (Bloomberg)

11-06-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear complex, taking its most-significant step away from its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran injected uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear complex early Thursday, taking its most-significant step away from its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Tehran meanwhile also acknowledged blocking an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency from visiting its nuclear site at Natanz last week, the first known case of a United Nations inspector being blocked amid heightened tensions over its atomic program. Iran then cancelled her accreditation, according to Agence France-Presse. These latest steps put additional pressure on Europe to offer Tehran a way to sell its crude oil abroad despite the U.S. sanctions imposed on the country since President Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the nuclear deal over a year ago. The gas injection began after midnight at Fordo, a facility built under a mountain north of the Shiite holy city of Qom, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said. A United Nations official from the IAEA witnessed the injection, it said. The centrifuges ultimately will begin enriching uranium up to 4.5%, which is just beyond the limits of the nuclear deal, but nowhere near weapons-grade levels of 90%. (Associated Press)

11-04-2019
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s nuclear program says that Tehran is working on a prototype centrifuge, called an IR-9, that’s 50 times faster than those allowed under the nuclear deal with world powers.

The head of Iran’s nuclear program says that Tehran is working on a prototype centrifuge that’s 50 times faster than those allowed under the nuclear deal with world powers. The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi on Monday came as Iranians mark the 40th anniversary of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and start of the 444-day hostage crisis. Salehi says the prototype is called an IR-9 and that it would be as 50-times faster than the first-generation IR-1s allowed under the accord. (Associated Press)

11-04-2019
Anti-Americanism

Thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America” near the old U.S. embassy on Monday, the 40th anniversary on the seizure of the mission, with the country’s army chief comparing the United States with a poisonous scorpion intent on harming Iran.

Thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America” near the old U.S. embassy on Monday, the 40th anniversary on the seizure of the mission, with the country’s army chief comparing the United States with a poisonous scorpion intent on harming Iran. Crowds packed the streets around the former mission, dubbed the “den of spies” after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Hardline students stormed the embassy soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. The two countries have been enemies ever since. The U.S. and Israeli flags and effigies of President Donald Trump were set ablaze during marches and rallies that were held in some 1,000 communities across the country, state media said. (Reuters)

11-04-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran said that it had begun running a significant number of new, advanced uranium centrifuges, accelerating its ability to produce enough nuclear material to make a bomb and throwing its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers into further disarray.

Iran said Monday that it had begun running a significant number of new, advanced uranium centrifuges, accelerating its ability to produce enough nuclear material to make a bomb and throwing its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers into further disarray. The big question now is how quickly Iran, with its new capacity, could produce the fuel needed for a single bomb. Some analysts say that it might be able to do so in under a year. The announcement was Tehran’s third move in six months to ratchet up pressure on the West in response to President Trump's decision to exit the nuclear agreement and reimpose sanctions on Iran. (New York Times)

11-03-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran will not lift its ban on talks with the United States, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, describing the two countries as implacable foes on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Iran will not lift its ban on talks with the United States, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday, describing the two countries as implacable foes on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. “One way to block America’s political infiltration is to ban any talks with America. It means Iran will not yield to America’s pressure,” Khamenei, who is Iran’s top authority, was quoted by state TV as saying. “Those who believe that negotiations with the enemy will solve our problems are 100% wrong,” (Reuters)

11-01-2019
Anti-Americanism

The representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader in the main conservative newspaper in Iran has once again demanded the “capture” of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

The representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader in the main conservative newspaper in Iran has once again demanded the “capture” of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. He had made a similar threat in early October. Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of hardliner Kayhan newspaper, directly controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has again alleged that protests in Iraq “are being managed by the embassies of America and Saudi Arabia”. Iranian officials have been making the allegation since the protests in Iraq against corruption and mismanagement began in early October, without presenting any evidence. Iran has gained extensive influence within Iraq’s parliament and politics, seeing the current political leadership as best suited to its interests. (Radio Farda)

10-27-2019
Syria Conflict

Iraqi protesters spoke out against Iran's influence in the country and stormed buildings belonging to Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias as well as the Iranian embassy in southern Iraq's Karbala, as renewed protests swept the nation.

Iraqi protesters spoke out against Iran's influence in the country and stormed buildings belonging to Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias as well as the Iranian embassy in southern Iraq's Karbala on Saturday, as renewed protests swept the nation, according to Sky News Arabia. At least seven protesters were killed and 38 wounded in the Iraqi city of Hilla early on Sunday, when members of the Iranian-backed Badr Organization militia opened fire on demonstrators, police and health sources said. Protesters had gathered across Iraq on Saturday in a second day of anti-government protests, in which at least 67 people have been killed. 63 people have died in the most recent bout of protests throughout Iraq on Friday and Saturday, according to Al-Arabiya. (Jerusalem Post)

10-24-2019
Human Rights

An UN independent expert charged with monitoring human rights in Iran has found it “distressing” that Tehran continues using the death penalty, including executing minors, in a report he presented to the UN General Assembly.

An UN independent expert charged with monitoring human rights in Iran has found it “distressing” that Tehran continues using the death penalty, including executing minors, in a report he presented to the UN General Assembly on October 23. Iran executed seven child offenders last year and two so far this year although it is prohibited to apply the death penalty to anyone under age 18, according to human rights law, Javaid Rehman told the UN’s human rights committee. Currently, there are 90 individuals on death row who are under age 18 at the time of their offenses, Rehman said, and that as of mid-July, at least 173 executions were carried out, including two 17-year-olds, based on “conservative estimates.” (Radio Farda)

10-24-2019
Human Rights

A semi-official Iranian news agency is reporting that authorities have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in a prison in the country’s north.

A semi-official Iranian news agency is reporting that authorities have amputated the hand of a convicted thief in a prison in the country’s north. Fars news agency reports that one hand of an unidentified convict was cut off in a prison in Sari city, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of the capital Tehran. The report said the convict committed 28 robberies. Fars didn’t say how much time the inmate was serving. (Associated Press)

10-23-2019
Terrorism

Russian hackers used Iranian cyber tools and digital infrastructure to launch attacks on government and industry groups in dozens of countries, national security officials from the U.S. and the United Kingdom said.

Russian hackers used Iranian cyber tools and digital infrastructure to launch attacks on government and industry groups in dozens of countries, national security officials from the U.S. and the United Kingdom said Monday. The Turla group, which is widely believed to be Russian in origin, used two Iranian hacking tools—Nautilus and Neuron—to target military, government, academic and scientific organizations in at least 35 different countries, according to a joint advisory released by the National Security Agency and the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre. So far, victims have largely been concentrated in the Middle East, officials said. While authorities had previously flagged Turla’s use of the tools, this latest advisory offers new details on their origin and the extent of their damage. The disclosure paints a picture of Russian hackers piggy-backing off the work of Iranian rivals to advance their own agenda. (Defense One)

10-23-2019
Politics

Hours after Iran’s presidency announced the approval of internationally mandated anti-corruption and anti-money laundering bills, the hardliner Judiciary denied any agreement between the three branches of power.

Hours after Iran’s presidency announced the approval of internationally mandated anti-corruption and anti-money laundering bills, the hardliner Judiciary denied any agreement between the three branches of power. On Wednesday, Rouhani’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi announced that a special council headed by the president, speaker of parliament and the head of the Judiciary have approved the long-debated bills demanded by the international financial watchdog, Financial Actions Task Force or FATF. However, he added that he was not aware of Khamenei's view on the three controversial bills. Almost immediately the Judiciary issued a statement calling Vaezi’s claim “untruthful”. (Radio Farda)

10-23-2019
Terrorism

Albanian police said they have discovered an Iranian paramilitary network that allegedly planned attacks in Albania against exiled members of an Iranian group seeking to overthrow the government in Tehran.

Albanian police said on Wednesday they have discovered an Iranian paramilitary network that allegedly planned attacks in Albania against exiled members of an Iranian group seeking to overthrow the government in Tehran. Police chief Ardi Veliu said the foreign wing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard operated an “active terrorist cell” targeting Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, group members in Albania. He did not say what the alleged plot involved, or whether any arrests were made. A police statement alleged that two Iranian top security officials led the cell from Tehran. It also said the network was allegedly linked with organized crime groups in Turkey and used a former MEK member to collect information in Albania. (Associated Press)

10-17-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran-backed militias deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops during Iraq’s deadliest anti-government protests in years, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters.

Iran-backed militias deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops during Iraq’s deadliest anti-government protests in years, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters. The deployment of militia fighters, which has not been previously reported, underscores the chaotic nature of Iraqi politics amid mass protests that led to more than 100 deaths and 6,000 injuries during the week starting Oct. 1. Such militias have become a fixture here with Iran’s rising influence. They sometimes operate in conjunction with Iraqi security forces but they retain their own command structures. The Iraqi security sources told Reuters that the leaders of Iran-aligned militias decided on their own to help put down the mass protests against the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, whose one-year-old administration is backed by powerful Iran-backed armed groups and political factions. “We have confirmed evidence that the snipers were elements of militias reporting directly to their commander instead of the chief commander of the armed forces,” said one of the Iraqi security sources. “They belong to a group that is very close to the Iranians.” (Reuters)

10-16-2019
Human Rights

Iran has been holding a second French researcher in custody for months, France’s foreign ministry said, denouncing the detention as “unacceptable” and demanding his release.

Iran has been holding a second French researcher in custody for months, France’s foreign ministry said Wednesday, denouncing the detention as “unacceptable” and demanding his release. The confirmation that Roland Marchal is being held in Iran — as well as his fellow-academic Fariba Adelkhah — comes at a time of high tensions and diplomatic maneuvering in the Persian Gulf. French President Emmanuel Macron has sought to serve as a mediator between Tehran and Washington over Iran’s nuclear program. Marchal, a sub-Saharan Africa specialist at Paris university Sciences Po, was arrested in June when he visited Iran to see Adelkhah, according to Sciences Po professor Richard Banegas, who has worked closely with him. The two were in a romantic relationship, according to Banegas. (Associated Press)

10-16-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran will further reduce its commitment to the nuclear deal signed with world powers by limiting international inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites, senior Iranian MPs have said.

Iran will further reduce its commitment to the nuclear deal signed with world powers by limiting international inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites, senior Iranian MPs have said. The move, which is expected to take place at the beginning of November, will be the fourth Iranian step away from the deal, and puts pressure on France, Germany and the UK to make some form of counter-move. The joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015 but Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018, placing pressure on Europe to prove to Iran it was worth sticking with the deal. (The Guardian)

10-14-2019
Human Rights

Agents of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have captured and returned to Iran an exiled opposition figure who headed a popular anti-government social media outlet, Iranian state television reported.

Agents of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have captured and returned to Iran an exiled opposition figure who headed a popular anti-government social media outlet, Iranian state television reported on Monday. Ruhollah Zam, a journalist turned activist who headed Amadnews with has more 1 million followers on social media, was based in France and other parts of Europe. Zam’s capture was a “complex operation using intelligence deception”, the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement carried by the television. It did not say where the operation took place. “Despite being under the guidance of the French intelligence service and under the protection of the U.S. and Zionist (Israeli) intelligence services, ... he (Zam) was trapped by the Revolutionary Guards intelligence service,” the statement said. (Reuters)

10-12-2019
Anti-Americanism

A large group of Iranian lawmakers have submitted a proposal in parliament to stop the teaching of English as a second language in public schools, citing remarks by the country’s Supreme Leader.

A large group of Iranian lawmakers have submitted a proposal in parliament to stop the teaching of English as a second language in public schools, citing remarks by the country’s Supreme Leader. Three years ago, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei complained in a speech that teaching English was spreading even “into daycare” institutions. Now, 57 members of parliament are backing a draft law that if passed will bar the teaching of English in government schools and will be taught only in private institutions, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. (Radio Farda)

10-10-2019
Human Rights

The family of a political prisoner in Iran has told Radio Farda that intelligence agents prevented medical treatment in the city of Mashhad.

The family of a political prisoner in Iran has told Radio Farda Thursday that intelligence agents prevented medical treatment in the city of Mashhad. Mohammad Hossein Sepehri was arrested on August 11 along with 13 other individuals who had signed a letter asking Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to resign. Asghar Sepehri, Mohammad Hossein’s brother told Radio Farda, “my brother was on hunger strike for 33 days after his arrest and this led to the blockage of his intestine”. The family was able to meet Mr. Sepehri in prison and he told them that he was goven some medications in the intelligence ministry’s detention center, but these were ineffective. Following this unsuccessful treatment, intelligence agents prevented his transfer to an outside medical facility, saying that he is undergoing interrogations. (Radio Farda)

10-09-2019
Human Rights

Three young women who posted their own dance videos on Instagram were arrested in Iran and will be tried in court.

Three young women who posted their own dance videos on Instagram were arrested in Iran on October 8 and will be tried in court. Dancing in public is strictly forbidden in the Islamic Republic of Iran but uploading footage of one's dancing on social media is a faux pas that takes it a step further and turns the "crime" into an "enemy plot." The conservatives in Iran have repeatedly insisted that the "enemy" (the U.S.A. and its allies) is encouraging Iranian youth to publish "disgraceful" posts, such as dancing, on social media. Therefore, the clergy-dominated judiciary of the country does not hesitate to issue harsh sentences against those who circulate “deplorable” images of dancing on social media. (Radio Farda)

10-09-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran's nuclear chief said the country will start using 30 advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium, again violating terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and ramping up pressure on Europe to save the accord.

Iran's nuclear chief said Monday the country will start using 30 advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium, again violating terms of the 2015 nuclear deal and ramping up pressure on Europe to save the accord. Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEO), told Iranian state television that additional IR-6 centrifuges will be used in the coming weeks. The centrifuges can enrich uranium 10 times faster than IR-1 centrifuges. The country is now producing up to 13 pounds of enriched uranium every day, according to Salehi. “It means we have restored pre-[nuclear]-deal capacity" of uranium production, he said. (Fox News)

10-07-2019
Military

The Iranian military says it has produced a new conversion kit to upgrade artillery rockets to surface-to-surface missiles, technology that Israel has accused Tehran of attempting to deliver to the Hezbollah terror group.

The Iranian military says it has produced a new conversion kit to upgrade artillery rockets to surface-to-surface missiles, technology that Israel has accused Tehran of attempting to deliver to the Hezbollah terror group. The Iranians unveiled the new guidance system upgrade, called Labeik, at an event Thursday at which a number of new military technologies were showcased, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly. Jane’s reported that Labeik appeared similar to the guidance systems on the Fateh-110 series of rockets, many of which are believed to be in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon. According to the report, the new system also looks to be compatible with Zelzal heavy artillery rockets. (Times of Israel)

10-06-2019
Human Rights

A poetry reciter in Iran has received a six-month prison sentence for reciting a poem, which mentioned corruption, discrimination abusing power and stealing public funds.

A poetry reciter in Iran has received a six-month prison sentence for reciting a poem, which mentioned corruption, discrimination abusing power and stealing public funds. Hossein Jannati, who once even recited a poem in the presence of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was charged with “propaganda against the regime”, and a higher court confirmed the verdict on October 5. In a post on Instagram Mr. Jannati said he will always recite poems against vices such as “oppression, injustice, abuse of power and religion”. He added that if security organs and judges consider these vices related to the regime, then he is not responsible. The verdict against him stemmed from a poetry recitation at the university of Isfahan. (Radio Farda)

10-06-2019
Nuclear Program

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), warned Europeans that Iran would drop more of its nuclear commitments if they do not assist the Islamic Republic to economically benefit from the JCPOA.

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrooz Kamalvandi, on Sunday warned Europeans that Iran would drop more of its nuclear commitments if they do not assist the Islamic Republic to economically benefit from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iran will continue to reduce its commitments" if the remaining parties to the deal do not realize their own commitments, Kamalvandi was cited as saying by official IRNA news agency. He reiterated that Iran's withdrawal from parts of its commitments were a reaction to the U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the accord in May 2018. (Radio Farda)

10-03-2019
Syria Conflict

An Iranian oil tanker detained in July over suspicions it was violating European Union sanctions by transporting oil to Syria has been pictured off the coast again, sparking concerns that the ship could be transferring cargo.

An Iranian oil tanker detained in July over suspicions it was violating European Union sanctions by transporting oil to Syria has been pictured off the coast again, sparking concerns that the ship could be transferring cargo. Satellite images released Thursday showed Iran’s Adrian Darya 1, formerly named the Grace 1, pictured the previous day alongside a smaller vessel, the Jasmine. The two ships can be seen tethered together by mooring lines while a crane is deployed on the starboard side of the tanker. The scene and location of the ships have indicated that the tanker could be preparing to transfer its crude oil. (Fox News)

10-02-2019
Extremism

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps head General Hossien Salami said that Iran has "the capability to annihilate" Israel and that it must be "wiped off the world" map, during an IRGC commanders gathering.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps head General Hossien Salami said that Iran has "the capability to annihilate" Israel and that it must be "wiped off the world" map, during an IRGC commanders gathering on Monday.  During his speech, Salami said this idea is within Iran's reach. "The second step of the revolution is the step that rearranges the constellation of power in favor of the revolution," he said. "Iran's Islamic revolution will be on top of this constellation... In the second step we will be thinking of the global mobilization of Islam." (Jerusalem Post)

10-01-2019
Human Rights

Iranian courts have sentenced one man to death for spying for the US and jailed two others for 10 years for the same crime, as well as imprisoning a fourth person for six years for spying for Britain, an Iranian judiciary spokesman has said.

Iranian courts have sentenced one man to death for spying for the US and jailed two others for 10 years for the same crime, as well as imprisoning a fourth person for six years for spying for Britain, an Iranian judiciary spokesman has said. “One person has been sentenced to death for spying for America … but the ruling has been appealed,” Gholamhossein Esmaili told the judiciary’s news website, Mizan, on Tuesday. He also told the official Iranian TV channel: “A spy working for the Iranian defence ministry was sentenced to death on a charge of spying for the United States.” (The Guardian)

09-29-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said that they had killed 500 Saudi soldiers, adding to soaring tensions between Iran and the U.S., which has backed a Saudi-led military campaign against the rebels for the past four years.

Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said Sunday that they had killed 500 Saudi soldiers, adding to soaring tensions between Iran and the U.S., which has backed a Saudi-led military campaign against the rebels for the past four years. The claim by Yemen’s Houthis, who released a video purporting to also show the capture of some 2,000 Saudi soldiers as well as a range of Saudi military equipment seized near the border between the two nations, could not be independently verified. Regional and U.S. officials scrambled Sunday night to determine whether the video was legitimate or a possible propaganda stunt orchestrated by Iran, whose foreign minister made separate headlines over the weekend with new warnings for Washington. (Washington Times)

09-28-2019
Extremism

IRGC Deputy Commander for Operations has warned against any Israeli military operation against Iran, threatening "If Israel makes a strategic mistake, it has to collect bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea."

IRGC Deputy Commander for Operations Abbas Nilforoushan has warned against any Israeli military operation against Iran, threatening "If Israel makes a strategic mistake, it has to collect bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea." He added that world powers are incapable of assessing the consequences of an attack on Iran. In an interview with the IRGC's Tasnim news agency, General Nilforoushan said the reason for the sense of uncertainty is that "Iranian armed forces do not play according to the rules in their strategic depth which is as wide as West Asia." (Radio Farda)

09-26-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran has installed powerful new centrifuges in contravention of its 2015 agreement with world powers and is preparing new measures that will allow it to reconstitute its stockpile of enriched uranium.

Iran has installed powerful new centrifuges in contravention of its 2015 agreement with world powers and is preparing new measures that will allow it to reconstitute its stockpile of enriched uranium. International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors circulated the findings to member states on Thursday in a two-page restricted report seen by Bloomberg. The document references a pledge by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to break more research and development limits imposed by the deal. In addition to new advanced centrifuges being fed with uranium at a testing facility at Natanz, Iran is also reconstituting machines and infrastructure that will allow it to ramp up its program even further within a matter of weeks. (Bloomberg)

09-25-2019
Extremism

Iran announced that it would begin the process to include the American NGO United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in the list of terrorist organizations.

Iran announced on Tuesday that it would begin the process to include the American NGO United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in the list of terrorist organizations. UANI describes itself as a “not-for-profit, bi-partisan, advocacy group that seeks to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons.” According to its website, it was founded in 2008 by Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Middle East expert Ambassador Dennis Ross. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi’s announced the Tehran would label UANI as a terrorist group on the eve of the organization’s Iran Summit scheduled for Wednesday. The event will feature US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (Jerusalem Post)

09-25-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran's president accused the United States of "merciless economic terrorism", using his UN speech to stress that security in the Persian Gulf can be guaranteed only when his nation's security is as well — and only with the involvement of Iran's neighbors.

Iran's president accused the United States of "merciless economic terrorism" on Wednesday, using his U.N. speech to stress that security in the Persian Gulf can be guaranteed only when his nation's security is as well — and only with the involvement of Iran's neighbors. Hassan Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly gathering that Iran would not negotiate on the issue of its nuclear program as long as sanctions remain in place. "Our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative," he said. He said Iran has "resisted the most merciless economic terrorism" from a nation that is engaging in "international piracy." (Associated Press)

09-21-2019
Syria Conflict

Houthi militants in Yemen have warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago, people familiar with the matter said.

Houthi militants in Yemen have warned foreign diplomats that Iran is preparing a follow-up strike to the missile and drone attack that crippled Saudi Arabia’s oil industry a week ago, people familiar with the matter said. Leaders of the group said they were raising the alarm about the possible new attack after they were pressed by Iran to play a role in it, these people said. It couldn’t be determined how serious the threat was and Houthi claims have long been met with skepticism by Western officials. But Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have both received the information, according to people briefed on the warnings. Saudi Arabia has beefed up its security in response, according to people familiar with the moves. Saudi Arabian officials are concerned about an another attack on the oil industry or a strike on civilian airports, including the one in Riyadh, the capital. (Wall Street Journal)

09-21-2019
Extremism

Iran will pursue and seek to destroy any aggressor, even one carrying out a limited attack, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites, which both Riyadh and American officials blamed on Tehran.

Iran will pursue and seek to destroy any aggressor, even one carrying out a limited attack, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites, which both Riyadh and American officials blamed on Tehran. “Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor,” the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, said in remarks broadcast on state TV. “And we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.” President Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the Sept. 14 attack. (Reuters)

09-18-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia displayed remnants of what it described as Iranian drones and cruise missiles used in an attack on Saudi oil facilities, saying they were “undeniable” evidence of Iranian aggression.

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday displayed remnants of what it described as Iranian drones and cruise missiles used in an attack on Saudi oil facilities, saying they were “undeniable” evidence of Iranian aggression. A total of 25 drones and missiles were launched at two oil plants in last weekend’s strikes, including Iranian Delta Wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and “Ya Ali” cruise missiles, Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki said. “The attack was launched from the north and unquestionably sponsored by Iran,” he told a news conference. “The evidence ... that you have seen in front of you, makes this undeniable.” (Reuters)

09-15-2019
Anti-Americanism

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were within range of Iranian missiles after the U.S. accused Iran of leading attacks on Saudi oil plants, raising tensions in the Middle East.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Sunday that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were within range of Iranian missiles after the U.S. accused Iran of leading attacks on Saudi oil plants, raising tensions in the Middle East. Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it attacked two Saudi Aramco oil plants on Saturday at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, knocking out more than half the Kingdom’s output. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind the attacks, ruling out Yemeni involvement and denouncing Tehran for engaging in false diplomacy. (Reuters)

09-14-2019
Syria Conflict

Drone attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck two key oil installations inside Saudi Arabia, damaging facilities that process the vast majority of the country’s crude output and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies.

Drone attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck two key oil installations inside Saudi Arabia on Saturday, damaging facilities that process the vast majority of the country’s crude output and raising the risk of a disruption in world oil supplies. The attacks immediately escalated tensions in the Persian Gulf amid a standoff between the United States and Iran, even as key questions remained unanswered — where the drones were launched from, and how the Houthis managed to hit facilities deep in Saudi territory, some 500 miles from Yemeni soil. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind what he called “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” and asserted that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” He did not, however, specify an alternative launch site, and the Saudis themselves refrained from pointing the finger directly at Iran. (New York Times)

09-11-2019
Human Rights

Two women who are dual British-Australian citizens and an Australian man have been detained in Iran, one of them sentenced to 10 years in prison, Australia’s government and media said.

Two women who are dual British-Australian citizens and an Australian man have been detained in Iran, one of them sentenced to 10 years in prison, Australia’s government and media said Wednesday. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the families of all three. The department said it could not comment further due to privacy obligations. The department also urged Australians to follow its travel advice, which includes a warning that foreigners risk arbitrary detention in Iran. (Associated Press)

09-11-2019
Extremism

Billboards with the slogans "Death to America — Death to Israel" have appeared in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in recent days.

Billboards with the slogans "Death to America — Death to Israel" have appeared in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in recent days. There are at least five of the large signs in central Baghdad, some less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, the Iraqi presidential palace and the national government's headquarters. The signs appear to be part of a campaign by Iran, carried out through proxy groups that directly threaten U.S. troops in Iraq, to demonstrate its strength and reach in the region as tension between Washington and Tehran threatens to explode into conflict. "The billboards erected in the streets of Baghdad are evidence of the government's inability to control pro-Iranian groups who want to drag Iraq into an international conflict that endangers the country's future on behalf of Iran," Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Iraq's Nineveh province, said last week. (CBS News)

09-10-2019
Human Rights

An Iranian woman detained for dressing as a man to sneak into a soccer stadium to watch a match has died after setting herself on fire upon learning she could spend six months in prison, semi-official news outlets reported.

An Iranian woman detained for dressing as a man to sneak into a soccer stadium to watch a match has died after setting herself on fire upon learning she could spend six months in prison, semi-official news outlets reported Tuesday. The self-immolation death of 29-year-old Sahar Khodayari has shocked Iranian officials and the public, becoming an immediate hashtag trend across social media in the Islamic Republic. It also comes as FIFA is working with Iranian authorities to overcome a ban on women entering stadiums for men’s games, a ban in place since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. FIFA wants the issue resolved before Oct. 10 when Iran — the top-ranked team in Asia — hosts its first home World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. (Associated Press)

09-10-2019
Nuclear Program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran destroyed a facility this summer where it had conducted secret nuclear-weapons experiments, the latest volley in his campaign imploring world powers to heap more diplomatic pressure on Tehran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran destroyed a facility this summer where it had conducted secret nuclear-weapons experiments, the latest volley in his campaign imploring world powers to heap more diplomatic pressure on Tehran. In a seven-minute televised address in Jerusalem in both Hebrew and English, Mr. Netanyahu showed satellite images of the alleged facility in central Iran, south of the city of Isfahan, from late June and late July that he said demonstrated that Iran destroyed the site. He said Iran did so after officials there learned that Israel had discovered it. “They just wiped it out,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Monday, walking over to the photos on a projector screen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Netanyahu gave no details about the nuclear work and didn’t say when Iran allegedly conducted nuclear weapons experiments at the facility. (Wall Street Journal)

09-10-2019
Human Rights

The Iranian Judiciary has condemned several labor activist during recent weeks to unusually long-term imprisonment and up to 148 lashes.

The Iranian Judiciary has condemned several labor activist during recent weeks to unusually long-term imprisonment and up to 148 lashes. Esmail Bakhshi who represents Haft Tappeh Sugar Mill workers has been sentenced to 14 years in jail and 74 lashes, while civil rights activist Sepideh Qolian was sentenced to over 19 years in jail and several others received sentences of 18 years for protesting about unpaid wages or supporting those who protested. Others, including journalists and photographers have also received unusually long-term prison terms. But why is the head of the Iran’s Judiciary, hardliner cleric Ebrahim Raeesi confronting labor activists as well as other civil rights activists with an iron fist? (Radio Farda)

09-10-2019
Syria Conflict

Britain’s foreign minister on Tuesday said Iranian tanker Adrian Darya had sold its crude oil to the Assad regime in Syria, breaking assurances it had given not to sell crude to the country.

Britain’s foreign minister on Tuesday said Iranian tanker Adrian Darya had sold its crude oil to the Assad regime in Syria, breaking assurances it had given not to sell crude to the country. The vessel, formerly named Grace 1, was seized by British Royal Marine commandos on July 4 on suspicion of being en route to Syria. Gibraltar released it on Aug. 15 after receiving formal written assurances from Tehran that the ship would not discharge its 2.1 million barrels of oil in Syria. But Britain’s foreign office said in a statement it was clear Iran had breached those assurances and that the oil had been transferred to Syria. (Reuters)

09-09-2019
Nuclear Program

The United Nations' atomic watchdog confirmed Monday that Iran has moved ahead with preparations to use more advanced centrifuges, in breach of limitations set by the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

The United Nations' atomic watchdog confirmed Monday that Iran has moved ahead with preparations to use more advanced centrifuges, in breach of limitations set by the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency said its inspectors verified new centrifuges, including 30 advanced IR-6 and three IR-6s models, had been or were being installed but not yet tested. The announcement followed the return from Tehran Sunday of IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta, who was expected to brief the agency's board of governors later on Monday after his trip. He was also expected to shed more light on a report by the Reuters news agency that IAEA inspectors had discovered trace amounts of uranium at a facility in Tehran, flagged by Israel last year as a "secret atomic warehouse," which Iran has thus far not explained. (CBS News)

09-08-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its external Quds Force are still moving oil worth hundreds of millions of dollars through sprawling illicit shipping networks, despite a maximum pressure sanctions regime from Washington and scores of corporate and go

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its external Quds Force are still moving oil worth hundreds of millions of dollars through sprawling illicit shipping networks, despite a maximum pressure sanctions regime from Washington and scores of corporate and government entities blacklisted. Washington is working to crack down on this, the U.S. Treasury Department says, and it’s warning those in the maritime industry to be wary of involvement with regimes or entities that have been deemed terror sponsors by the U.S. — or face steep costs. Sigal Mandelker, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury Department, spoke to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble during a visit to Abu Dhabi. “What we’re doing on this trip and really every day is we’re telling the maritime industry that they need to be on high alert, they need to continue to sophisticate their ability to track vessels that are involved with any of these regimes,” Mandelker said. (CNBC)

09-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Samples taken by the U.N. nuclear watchdog at what Israel’s prime minister called a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency’s inspections work closely say.

Samples taken by the U.N. nuclear watchdog at what Israel’s prime minister called a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency’s inspections work closely say. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating the particles’ origin and has asked Iran to explain the traces. But Tehran has not done so, according to the diplomats, stoking tensions between Washington and Tehran. U.S. sanctions have slashed Iranian oil sales and Iran has responded by breaching its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. In a speech a year ago Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vehemently opposed the deal, called on the IAEA to visit the site immediately, saying it had housed 15 kg (33 lb) of unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed. (Reuters)

09-07-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran said it is no longer abiding by limits imposed on its uranium enrichment and centrifuge research by the 2015 nuclear accord, throwing down a new challenge to European leaders struggling to reduce diplomatic tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Iran said it is no longer abiding by limits imposed on its uranium enrichment and centrifuge research by the 2015 nuclear accord, throwing down a new challenge to European leaders struggling to reduce diplomatic tensions between Tehran and Washington. The Islamic Republic will forge ahead with plans to develop its advanced centrifuges and has started injecting them with gas, Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Saturday at a news conference. That’s a breach of a time-frame agreed within the deal that aimed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran has been scaling back its compliance to the terms of the beleaguered deal since May as it pushes back against the “maximum pressure” offensive of U.S. President Donald Trump, who unilaterally left the accord last year. The U.S. and the Iranians have been unable to agree to terms that would let them discuss their standoff, even as Trump offered to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and ease restrictions so Tehran can use some of its oil wealth to access credit. (Bloomberg)

09-06-2019
Human Rights

A Norway-based Iranian human rights organization reports that 38 people were executed in Iran in August, double the rate in the same period last year.

A Norway-based Iranian human rights organization reports that 38 people were executed in Iran in August, double the rate in the same period last year. Iran Human Rights (IHR) says based on information it has collected 32 of those executed were convicted of first-degree murder, six were hanged for major narcotics and drug trafficking convictions. Two prisoners were executed on charges of “Moharebeh”, which in Islamic law means “waging war against God”. The Islamic Republic uses this serious accusation against those who question the basis of the Islamic political system or the legitimacy of clerical rule in Iran. Two executions took place in public while the rest were carried out in various prisons around the country. (Radio Farda)

09-03-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran will never hold bilateral talks with the United States but if it lifts all the sanctions it reimposed on Iran it can join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to a 2015 nuclear deal, President Hassan Rouhani said.

Iran will never hold bilateral talks with the United States but if it lifts all the sanctions it reimposed on Iran it can join multilateral talks between Iran and other parties to a 2015 nuclear deal, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday. “No decision has ever been taken to hold talks with the U.S. and there has been a lot of offers for talks but our answer will always be negative,” Rouhani told an open session of parliament broadcast live on state radio. “If America lifts all the sanctions then like before it can join multilateral talks between Tehran and parties to the 2015 deal,” he added. U.S. President Donald Trump, although applying “maximum pressure” on Iran, has offered to meet its leaders and hold bilateral talks with no pre-conditions to end the confrontation between their countries. (Reuters)

09-03-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran has established a new military base in Syria and has plans to house thousands of troops at the location, according to multiple Western intelligence sources.

Iran has established a new military base in Syria and has plans to house thousands of troops at the location, according to multiple Western intelligence sources. The classified Iranian project, called the Imam Ali compound, was approved by top leadership in Tehran and is being completed by the Iranian al-Quds Forces. Using a civilian satellite company, Fox News verified the information and obtained images that show a base being constructed on the Syria-Iraq border.  Analysts at Image Sat International (ISI) who reviewed the images say that precision-guided missiles could be housed at five different newly constructed buildings that are surrounded by large dirt mounds. The images also show, in the northwest part of the base, 10 additional storehouses with less external protection, as well as new buildings and missile storage structures. (Fox News)

09-02-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran will “take a strong step” away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if Europe cannot offer the country new terms by a deadline at the end of this week.

Iran will “take a strong step” away from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers if Europe cannot offer the country new terms by a deadline at the end of this week, a government spokesman said Monday as top Iranian diplomats traveled to France and Russia for last-minute talks. The comments from Ali Rabiei reinforced the Friday deadline Iran had set for Europe to offer it a way to sell its crude oil on the global market. Crushing U.S. sanctions imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal have curbed Iran’s oil exports and sent its economy into freefall. (Associated Press)

09-02-2019
Terrorism

The leader of Palestinian Hamas has written to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to thank him for “the excellent reception” he offered a delegation visiting Iran and for his "extensive" support.

The leader of Palestinian Hamas has written to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to thank him for “the excellent reception” he offered a delegation visiting Iran and for his "extensive" support. Khamenei’s official website reported that Ismail Haniyah in a letter to the Supreme Leader has also expressed “his utter joy” for “Iran’s readiness to equip the resistance for whatever it needs to discharge its duty” and has added, “I thank God for your presence”. Iran and its allies in the region use "resistance" as a term for all anti-Israeli and anti-US forces and activities. Haniya has also expressed his gratitude “for assistance, special and extensive support” of the Islamic Republic and especially Khamenei’s recent statements of support that “has opened new horizons” for Hamas. (Radio Farda)

09-02-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran is stifling a United Nations probe of its alleged storage of nuclear equipment and radioactive material in Tehran, diplomats say, leading to fresh concerns about Iran’s activities at a critical moment for the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran is stifling a United Nations probe of its alleged storage of nuclear equipment and radioactive material in Tehran, diplomats say, leading to fresh concerns about Iran’s activities at a critical moment for the fate of the 2015 nuclear deal. The diplomats said Iran has refused to provide answers to important questions raised by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency over allegations, first made public by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a year ago, that Iran had established a now-dismantled site in Tehran to store equipment and material used during past nuclear weapons work. It is the first time Iran seems to have refused to cooperate with the IAEA’s monitoring of its activities since the multination accord was implemented in January 2016. It comes as European powers, led by France, try to prevent the deal’s collapse after the U.S. withdrew from the agreement in May 2018 and then reimposed tight sanctions on Iran, in violation of the deal. (Wall Street Journal)

08-31-2019
Human Rights

Human rights activists in Iran say a court in Tehran has condemned Atefeh Rangriz, a researcher arrested during Labor Day demonstrations on May 1, to 11 years in jail and 74 lashes.

Human rights activists in Iran say a court in Tehran has condemned Atefeh Rangriz, a researcher arrested during Labor Day demonstrations on May 1, to 11 years in jail and 74 lashes. Social media reports say the sentence was issued by notorious Judge Mohammad Mogheiseh at bench 28 of Iran's Revolutionary Court and was handed to Rangriz's defense lawyer. Iranian Judiciary officials have still not reacted to the report. Some 35 activists were arrested in a May Day demonstration in Tehran in front of the Iranian Parliament (Majles). (Radio Farda)

08-29-2019
Military

A rocket at an Iranian space center that was to conduct a satellite launch criticized by the U.S. apparently exploded on its launch pad Thursday, satellite images show, suggesting the Islamic Republic suffered its third failed launch this year alone.

A rocket at an Iranian space center that was to conduct a satellite launch criticized by the U.S. apparently exploded on its launch pad Thursday, satellite images show, suggesting the Islamic Republic suffered its third failed launch this year alone. State media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province. However, satellite images by Planet Labs Inc. showed a black plume of smoke rising above a launch pad there, with what appeared to be the charred remains of a rocket and its launch stand. In previous days, satellite images had shown officials there repainted the launch pad blue. (Associated Press)

08-29-2019
Syria Conflict

Israel’s prime minister accused Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah of racing to build a missile-production program in Lebanon, vowing to destroy the ambitious project and issuing a stern warning to his enemies to “be careful.”

Israel’s prime minister on Thursday accused Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah of racing to build a missile-production program in Lebanon, vowing to destroy the ambitious project and issuing a stern warning to his enemies to “be careful.” The threats ratcheted up an already tense standoff that has pushed the bitter adversaries closer toward open, armed conflict in recent weeks. “Today we uncovered part of Iran and Hezbollah’s precision missile project. We know a few other things,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference. “We are determined to eliminate this dangerous project. The aim of the publication today is to convey a message that we will not sit by and allow our enemies to arm themselves with deadly weapons directed at us,” he said. (Associated Press)

08-28-2019
Extremism

A top Iranian general claimed on Wednesday that his country has "secret defense facilities and capabilities" that could be used to "punish" enemies.

A top Iranian general claimed on Wednesday that his country has "secret defense facilities and capabilities" that could be used to "punish" enemies. "We possess equipment that could punish the enemies in the furthest points if need be," Deputy Chief of the Iranian Army Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Dadras warned, the Tehran Times reported. "Today, many of our equipment are unveiled, but our more effective equipment are not unveiled and they would appear when they are needed to strike a tough blow to the enemy [sic]," he said. According to Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the commander "underlined that Iran's secret defense facilities and capabilities could scare enemies to death if necessary." (Newsweek)

08-28-2019
Nuclear Program

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on several Iranian men and their associated companies, which U.S. officials say were used to procure materials in Iran’s bid to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on several Iranian men and their associated companies, which U.S. officials say were used to procure materials in Iran’s bid to develop weapons of mass destruction. The action comes amid escalating tensions between Iran and the U.S. as the Trump administration’s broader “maximum pressure” campaign takes a deepening toll on Iran’s economy. “As the Iranian regime attempts to use complex schemes to hide its efforts to bolster its WMD program, the U.S. government will continue to thwart them at every turn,” Sigal Mandelker, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement, using the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction. The Treasury Department said Hamed and Hadi Dehghan used a network of companies that arranged more than $10 million dollars worth of proliferation-related transactions, including military-grade electronics for Iran’s defense industry. Many of their clients, the U.S. said, are key suppliers for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated terror group. Some of the procured products were bought from U.S. companies through firms registered overseas to mask their intended recipients. Neither man could be immediately reached for comment. (Wall Street Journal)

08-24-2019
Military

Iran has test fired a new missile, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Iran has test fired a new missile, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Saturday, according to the Tasnim news agency. “Our country is always the arena for testing a variety of defense and strategic systems and these are non-stop movements towards the growth of our deterrent power,” Salami said. “And yesterday was one of the successful days for this nation.” (Reuters)

08-22-2019
Military

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inducted a locally built air-defence system into the country's missile defence network at an unveiling ceremony in the capital, Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has inducted a locally built air-defence system into the country's missile defence network at an unveiling ceremony in the capital, Tehran. The display of the new system, Bavar-373, on Tuesday came amid heightened tensions with the United States, which last year unilaterally withdrew from a multinational nuclear deal signed between world powers and Iran and reimposed crippling sanctions on it. Iranian officials have previously called Bavar, which means "believe" in Farsi, the country's first domestically produced long-range missile defence system. (Al-Jazeera)

08-21-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran may act “unpredictably” in response to the United States’ “unpredictable” policies under U.S. President Donald Trump.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Wednesday Tehran may act “unpredictably” in response to the United States’ “unpredictable” policies under U.S. President Donald Trump. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since President Trump’s administration last year quit an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and began to ratchet up sanctions. Iranian officials denounced the new penalties as “economic warfare”. “Mutual unpredictability will lead to chaos. President Trump cannot expect to be unpredictable and expect others to be predictable. Unpredictability will lead to mutual unpredictability and unpredictability is chaotic,” Zarif said in a speech at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). (Reuters)

08-21-2019
Syria Conflict

The US blamed Iran for the shooting down of a US MQ-9 drone over Yemen by a surface-to-air missile, an apparent escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The US blamed Iran on Tuesday for the shooting down of a US MQ-9 drone over Yemen by a surface-to-air missile, an apparent escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran. The US believes the missile was provided to Houthi rebels by Iran, a US official said, adding that it was not immediately clear if the drone was being operated by the US military or the intelligence community. The rebels, however, said the missile used was "developed locally" and appeared to suggest it was not provided to them by Iran. Statements from the Trump administration and the US military, however, clearly implicated Iran in the incident, which was first reported by Reuters. (CNN)

08-21-2019
Syria Conflict

If Iran’s oil exports are cut to zero, international waterways will not have the same security as before, its president said, cautioning Washington against raising pressure on Tehran in an angry confrontation between the longtime foes.

If Iran’s oil exports are cut to zero, international waterways will not have the same security as before, its president said on Wednesday, cautioning Washington against raising pressure on Tehran in an angry confrontation between the longtime foes. The comment by President Hassan Rouhani coincided with a remark by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Tehran might act “unpredictably” in response to “unpredictable” U.S. policies under President Donald Trump. “World powers know that in the case that oil is completely sanctioned and Iran’s oil exports are brought down to zero, international waterways can’t have the same security as before,” Rouhani said while meeting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Khamenei’s official website. (Reuters)

08-20-2019
Military

A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed his country has the most advanced missile technology in the Middle East.

A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed his country has the most advanced missile technology in the Middle East. “Today, we rank first in the missile technology at the regional level and are placed among the few global powers in this regard,” Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC Aerospace Force, was quoted as saying Sunday by Press TV. Hajizadeh claimed Iran was the leading regional power on drone technology and said the IRGC’s downing of a US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in June showed the capabilities of Iranian radar and air-defense systems. (Times of Israel)

08-18-2019
Nuclear Program

The Islamic Republic of Iran is planning to work on introducing a new generation of uranium enriching centrifuges, the IR-8, a lawmaker told local media on Sunday August 18.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is planning to work on introducing a new generation of uranium enriching centrifuges, a lawmaker told local media on Sunday August 18. The IR-8 Centrifuges are 20 times more powerful than the first-generation equipment Iran has been using for uranium enrichment. Hamid Reza Hajibabaee quoted the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Chief Ali Akbar Salehi as telling parliamentarians that Iran has been producing IR-6 and IR-7 centrifuges so far, but it now plans to produce IR-8. But it is not clear how many IR-8 and centrifuges Iran plans to deploy eventually, considering limitations imposed by the 2015 nuclear agreement. (Radio Farda)

08-18-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran appears to be preparing another satellite launch via rocket after twice failing this year to put one in orbit, despite U.S. accusations that the Islamic Republic's program helps it develop ballistic missiles.

Iran appears to be preparing another satellite launch via rocket after twice failing this year to put one in orbit, despite U.S. accusations that the Islamic Republic's program helps it develop ballistic missiles. Satellite images of the Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran's Semnan province this month show increased activity at the site, as heightened tensions persist between Washington and Tehran over its collapsing nuclear deal with world powers. While Iran routinely only announces such launches after the fact, that activity coupled with an official saying a satellite would soon be handed over to the country's Defense Ministry suggests the attempt will be coming soon. (Associated Press)

08-17-2019
Human Rights

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran says last year saw increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and continuing violations of the right to life, liberty and a fair trial in Iran, including 253 executions.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran says last year saw increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and continuing violations of the right to life, liberty and a fair trial in the Islamic Republic, including 253 reported executions of adults and children. Javaid Rehman who was appointed more than a year ago said in a report to the General Assembly circulated on August 16 that while executions were the lowest since 2007, "the number of executions remains one of the highest in the world." He says the significant decline is attributed to enforcement of a 2017 amendment to Iran's anti-narcotics law that saw the number of executions for drug-related offenses drop from 231 in 2017 to at least 24 in 2018. Rehman says seven child offenders were reported executed in 2018. (Radio Farda)

08-15-2019
Terrorism

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group had sharpened its military capabilities fighting in Syria and was now strong enough to “wipe the Zionist regime off the map” on its own.

The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group had sharpened its military capabilities fighting in Syria and was now strong enough to “wipe the Zionist regime off the map” on its own. “They [the US and its allies] intended to undermine Iran’s regional influence, but everyone witnessed how this policy backfired to increase Iran’s influence and a united front was formed against the Zionist regime,” Gen. Hossein Salami said at a ceremony in the northern city of Urumiyeh, according to the Fars news agency. “The Lebanese Hezbollah has now developed such an extent of power through the experience of confrontation against proxy wars that it is now able to wipe the Zionist regime off the map in any possible war by itself,” he said. (Times of Israel)

08-14-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has criticized a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Washington's military build-up in the Gulf was aimed at "creating division and emptying the treasuries" of countries in the region.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has criticised a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Washington's military build-up in the Gulf was aimed at "creating division and emptying the treasuries" of countries in the region.  Speaking during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani said the Gulf countries could handle their own security and called for unity to do so. "All talks about establishing a new coalition in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman won't be practical," Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Student News Agency. "No doubt that it won't help the security of the region. There is no need for the presence of foreign forces to provide security." (Al-Jazeera)

08-14-2019
Human Rights

A British-Iranian academic, Kameel Ahmady, was arrested at his home in Tehran over the weekend, roiling relations once again between Iran and Britain just as they appeared to be making progress on the release of an Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar.

A British-Iranian academic was arrested at his home in Tehran over the weekend, roiling relations once again between Iran and Britain just as they appeared to be making progress on the release of an Iranian tanker seized in Gibraltar. The academic, Kameel Ahmady, an acclaimed social anthropologist of Kurdish origin, was detained on Sunday after Iranian security forces raided his house and seized documents, including his birth certificate, his wife, Shafaq Rahmani, said in a text message. “A security prosecutor in Evin has issued a one-month arrest warrant for Kameel. No information about Kameel’s arrest or charge has been provided,” Ms. Rahmani wrote in an Instagram post, referring to Evin Prison, where a British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, has been jailed since 2016 on espionage charges. (New York Times)

08-13-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s state TV reports that the country’s supreme leader is urging support for Yemen’s Houthis against a Saudi-led coalition that he says is trying to “disintegrate” the country.

Iran’s state TV reports that the country’s supreme leader is urging support for Yemen’s Houthis against a Saudi-led coalition that he says is trying to “disintegrate” the country. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with Mohammad Abdul Salam, the spokesman for Yemen’s Ansarallah Movement, in Tehran on Tuesday. The group is commonly referred to as the Houthis. Khamenei says Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their supporters seek to break up Yemen, “which must stand firm against this conspiracy.” (Associated Press)

08-13-2019
Nuclear Program

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that the Islamic Republic's enriched uranium stockpile has reached 370 kilograms, above the JCPOA’s 300 kg limit, and warned, “this amount is growing fast.”

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi announced on Tuesday, August 13, that the Islamic Republic's enriched uranium stockpile has reached 370 kilograms. "We are producing [enriched uranium] with a good capacity and our stockpile is 60 to 70 kilograms above the 300kg [JCPOA limit] and this amount is growing fast," Behrouz Kamalvandi said on the sideline of a ceremony which marked the construction of a research center on separation and development of the applications of stable isotopes at Fordow nuclear facility in Qom. The 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, known as JCPOA, limits Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium to 300 kg. Echoing recent remarks by the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani, Kamalvandi also insisted, "Iran is not obliged to restrict its stockpile of heavy water to 130 tons," adding, "Although our heavy water exports are not big figures, we have diverse markets which include European and non-European countries. Iran should not lose any of these markets." (Radio Farda)

08-10-2019
Terrorism

An official with Palestinian terror group Hamas on Saturday told a Lebanese newspaper that in the next major conflagration, should the Gaza rulers feel that Israel is trying to “break” the group, its regional allies will join forces with Hamas.

An official with Palestinian terror group Hamas on Saturday told a Lebanese newspaper that in the next major conflagration, should the Gaza rulers feel that Israel is trying to “break” the group, its regional allies will join forces with Hamas. This was one of the understandings reached between Hamas and Iran during a high-level meeting last month in Tehran, the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese paper al-Akhbar reported (in Arabic) on Saturday. “If the Israeli enemy launches aggression against the Gaza Strip, and we estimate that it is a confined battle that will not develop into a war to break us, we will face it alone,” the official was quoted by the paper as saying. “But if the enemy [Israel] tries to break the resistance, the rest of the axis will join the battle,” he went on, in reference to Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah. (Times of Israel)

08-10-2019
Military

Iran unveiled on Saturday what authorities said was a locally upgraded radar system with a range of 400 km (250 miles) that could help defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones.

Iran unveiled on Saturday what authorities said was a locally upgraded radar system with a range of 400 km (250 miles) that could help defend against cruise and ballistic missiles and drones. The announcement comes at a time of rising tension between Iran and United States. Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June. Tehran says the drone was over its territory, but Washington says it was in international airspace. State television showed the Falaq, a mobile radar and a vehicle housing a control room, which it said was an improved version of the Gamma, a system that military experts said was of Russian origin. (Reuters)

08-08-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s intelligence minister has said that by pulling out of the nuclear agreement, President Donald Trump lost his last chance to talk with Iran and will take his wish for negotiations “to his grave with him”.

Iran’s intelligence minister has said that by pulling out of the nuclear agreement, President Donald Trump lost his last chance to talk with Iran and will take his wish for negotiations “to his grave with him”. Mahmoud Alavi was quoted by Iranian media on Thursday as saying that the U.S. president gave the coup de grace to his “last chance” to negotiate with Tehran. Alavi added, the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement known as JCPOA, and the reimposition of sanctions was a “violation of international commitments” and insisted that “ultimately victory will be with Iran”. (Radio Farda)

08-08-2019
Terrorism

The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration has issued a new warning to commercial shipping about Iranian threats in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, saying that some ships have reported having their GPS interfered with.

The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration has issued a new warning to commercial shipping about Iranian threats in the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, saying that some ships have reported having their GPS interfered with. Additionally, the administration warned that there have been reports of "unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships." The warning, which was issued Wednesday, listed a series of incidents involving Iran since May, including Iran's seizure of the United Kingdom-flagged M/V STENA IMPERO and the detention and subsequent release of the Liberian-flagged M/V MESDAR. It said that during "at least two" recent encounters involving Iranian military forces, "vessels reported GPS interference. One vessel reportedly shut off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) before it was seized, complicating response efforts." "Vessels have also reported spoofed bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships," the warning added. (CNN)

08-07-2019
Syria Conflict

Rhetoric by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq, as well as the threat from Iranian-backed militias operating there, have increased in the last several months, according to a US report.

Rhetoric by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq, as well as the threat from Iranian-backed militias operating there, have increased in the last several months, according to a US report. The quarterly Lead Inspector General Report covers incidents from April to the end of June and examines the US-led anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria. In Syria, the report notes that Iran “continues to field Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers, support Lebanese Hezbollah and command Shia foreign fighter networks.” This includes up to 3,000 IRGC and up to 100,000 of these Shi’ite fighters, some of whom come from as far away as Pakistan and Afghanistan and were recruited to help the Syrian regime. (Jerusalem Post)

08-07-2019
Military

Iran has unveiled three new precision-guided missiles amid tensions between Iran and the US and European countries in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has unveiled three new precision-guided missiles on Tuesday amid tensions between Iran and the US and European countries in the Strait of Hormuz. The air-to-air missiles revealed by Tehran are called the “Yasin” and the “Balaban,” as well as a new series of the “Qaem” missile, and were developed jointly by the Iranian Defense Ministry and Sa Iran (Iran Electronics Industries). According to Iran’s Mehr News Agency, the Yasin is a smart guided missile with folding wings that can be fired from a range of 50 km. of its target from manned or unmanned aircraft. The Balaban smart bomb is guided by hybrid inertial navigation system (INS)/Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance and sensors to boost its precision capabilities and is equipped with folding wings and can be mounted under an aircraft.  The Qaem optic smart bomb meanwhile is a heat-seeking missile equipped with heat and cylinder seekers that allow the bomb to hit within 50 cm. of a target. (Jerusalem Post)

08-07-2019
Politics

Lambasting the Islamic Republic's judiciary for accusing journalists and political activists of "intelligence-related crimes," former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has also criticized the government and Majles (parliament) for standing idly by.

Lambasting the Islamic Republic's judiciary for accusing journalists and political activists of "intelligence-related crimes," former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has also criticized the government and Majles (parliament) for standing idly by. The mid-ranking cleric, and twice president (1997-2005), Khatami says that he is "surprised" that the government and Majles have kept mum against such injustice. "I am astonished that a government elected on the platform of providing people with their legal rights, as well as the pro-reform members of Majles, who boast about defending the nation and the constitution, do not step forward, and shout against this injustice?" Khatami told a gathering of journalists on Tuesday, August 6. (Radio Farda)

08-07-2019
Terrorism

Suspected Iranian hackers infiltrated critical infrastructure and government computers in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain within the last month, raising fears among leaders in the region that Tehran is stepping up its cyberattacks amid growing tensions

Suspected Iranian hackers infiltrated critical infrastructure and government computers in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain within the last month, raising fears among leaders in the region that Tehran is stepping up its cyberattacks amid growing tensions. The intrusions, according to people familiar with them, rose above the normal level of Iranian cyber activity in the region. On Monday, hackers broke into the systems of Bahrain’s National Security Agency—the country’s main criminal investigative authority—as well as the Ministry of Interior and the first deputy prime minister’s office, according to one of the people familiar with the matter. On July 25, Bahrain authorities identified intrusions into its Electricity and Water Authority. The hackers shut down several systems in what the authorities believed was a test run of Iran’s capability to disrupt the country, the person said. “They had command and control of some of the systems,” the person said. (Wall Street Journal)

08-06-2019
Anti-Americanism

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway.

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway. Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran. “Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Rouhani said at the Foreign Ministry in a speech which also praised Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the United States imposed sanctions on him on July 31. (Reuters)

08-06-2019
Terrorism

Two weeks after a visit to Tehran by representatives from HAMAS, Israeli media reported an eye-catching increase in Iran's financial assistance to this Palestinian group from $100 million to $360 million annually.

Two weeks after a visit to Tehran by representatives from HAMAS, Israeli media on Tuesday August 6 reported an eye-catching increase in Iran's financial assistance to this Palestinian group. Quoting unnamed Israeli government sources, these reports say Iran has increased its usual annual $100 million aide to HAMAS to $360 million after the visit. The Jerusalem Post and Israel's Channel 12 TV say the 3.5 fold rise in aide to HAMAS is aimed at meeting certain demands by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. According to these reports, Iran has asked HAMAS to provide Tehran with information about Israel's missile capabilities. (Radio Farda)

08-05-2019
Military

The head of Iran's navy has said his forces planned to train alongside their Russian counterparts by the end of the year as both nations stepped up their rhetoric against U.S. policies targeting them.

The head of Iran's navy has said his forces planned to train alongside their Russian counterparts by the end of the year as both nations stepped up their rhetoric against U.S. policies targeting them. Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi confirmed Sunday that Iran and Russia had signed their first-ever memorandum of understanding regarding inter-military affairs last week during his visit to Moscow. He also briefly discussed joint military exercises he previously said at the time would be held in the northern Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman. "Soon the preparations and maneuvers' planning will start and they will be conducted this year," Khanzadi said, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency, which reported in English that the training could be carried by March 2020. (Newsweek)

08-05-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran told European powers it would further reduce compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal in about a month’s time if they were still failing to protect it from crippling U.S. sanctions, reimposed after Washington exited the deal.

Iran told European powers on Monday it would further reduce compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal in about a month’s time if they were still failing to protect it from crippling U.S. sanctions, reimposed after Washington exited the deal. European signatories to the deal have so far been helpless to prevent U.S. President Donald Trump trying to force Iran to accept stricter limits to its nuclear activity and regional behavior by strangling its vital oil trade. Iran has threatened to block all energy exports out of the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of global oil traffic passes, if it is unable to sell oil as promised by the 2015 deal in exchange for curbing its uranium enrichment program. “With the continuation of the inaction of the Europeans in carrying out their commitments (to the nuclear deal) ... Iran will take a third step (in reducing commitments) in approximately one month,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. (Reuters)

08-04-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month.

Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported on Sunday, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month as the United States applies its campaign of “maximum pressure,” sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the country. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps detained the tanker on Wednesday along with the seven members of the ship’s foreign crew, according to official Iranian news agencies, which cited a naval commander. Iran said the tanker was “smuggling” fuel to some Arab states, without offering evidence. The oil tanker was an Iraqi ship, the official IRNA news agency reported, quoting the Revolutionary Guards Corps. (New York Times)

08-02-2019
Human Rights

Three women held in custody for "disrespecting compulsory hijab," or the so-called Islamic dress code, have been sentenced to a total of 55 years and six months.

Three women held in custody for "disrespecting compulsory hijab," or the so-called Islamic dress code, have been sentenced to a total of 55 years and six months. A "Revolutionary Court" in the capital city of Tehran delivered the verdict to Monireh Arabshahi, Yasamin Ariany, and Mojgan Keshavarz who are behind bars in the notorious Qarchak prison. Arabshahi and Ariany's legal counsel, Amir Raeesian, told Ensaf News website August 1 that if the verdict is upheld, his clients would be sentenced to ten years to serve, each. In Iran if a prison term is unusually long, a shorter sentence is set to be served. Usually, the shorter sentence to be served is a little more than half of the original long prison term. (Radio Farda)

08-01-2019
Syria Conflict

An airstrike launched by the Houthi faction in Yemen killed at least 40 people, including a senior Yemeni military commander, at a parade in the city of Aden, officials said.

An airstrike launched by the Houthi faction in Yemen on Thursday killed at least 40 people, including a senior Yemeni military commander, at a parade in the city of Aden, officials said. In a separate attack in the city, a suicide bomber drove a truck full of explosives into a police station, killing at least 11 people, officials said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for that blast. At least 50 people were wounded in the two attacks in Aden, the provisional capital of the Saudi-backed forces in the country’s civil war. The missile strike on the military parade was the bloodiest assault on the Saudi-backed forces and their territory since their other main external sponsor, the United Arab Emirates, announced a steep drawdown of troops last month. (New York Times)

08-01-2019
Human Rights

A Swedish-Iranian medical doctor and researcher who has been in jail in Iran since 2016 on charges of "espionage" with a death sentence, has been moved to solitary confinement in an unidentified place, the inmate's wife told Radio Farda.

A Swedish-Iranian medical doctor and researcher who has been in jail in Iran since 2916 on charges of "espionage" with a death sentence, has been moved to an unidentified place, the inmate's wife told Radio Farda on Thursday August 1. Ahmad Reza Jalali (Djalali) was arrested by Iranian intelligence while visiting Iran to attend a scientific conference at the invitation of the University of Tehran in May 2016. Vida Mehran Nia, Jalali's wife , told Radio Farda that moving Jalali to solitary confinement in an unidentified place came as a surprise to the inmate and his family. Jalali called his wife in Sweden on Tuesday, and told her that he has been moved to a cell which is monitored by CCTV. Human rights watchdogs all over the world have protested Jalaii's death sentence which has been confirmed by the Iranian Supreme Court. (Radio Farda)

07-29-2019
Military

The head of Iran's navy has said he signed a document to expand ties with Russia, with whom his forces planned on conducting joint drills in the same tense waters that the United States sought to counter the Islamic Republic with international support.

The head of Iran's navy has said he signed a document to expand ties with Russia, with whom his forces planned on conducting joint drills in the same tense waters that the United States sought to counter the Islamic Republic with international support. Iranian naval commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said Monday that he signed an unprecedented memorandum of understanding with Russia, largely involving the two countries' naval forces, and that it "may be considered as a turning point in relations of Tehran in Moscow," according to Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency. The news came as Khanzadi was visiting St. Petersburg to celebrate Russia's Navy Day and he further announced that "joint Russian-Iranian exercises in the Indian Ocean are expected to take place soon." "When we talk about the Indian Ocean, perhaps the most significant part of the area is the northern Indian Ocean, which flows into the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz and also the Persian Gulf," Khanzadi said. (Newsweek)

07-28-2019
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told lawmakers on Sunday that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the ISNA news agency reported.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, told lawmakers on Sunday that Iran will restart activities at the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, the ISNA news agency reported. ISNA cited a member of parliament who attended the meeting. Heavy water can be employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads. Iran stopped complying in May with some commitments in the 2015 nuclear deal that was agreed with global powers, after the United States unilaterally withdrew from the accord in 2018 and re-introduced sanctions on Tehran. (Reuters)

07-26-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran fired a Shahab-3 medium-range missile, a United States military official said, playing it down by saying that it did not pose a threat to American or other Western shipping or military bases in the region.

Iran fired a Shahab-3 medium-range missile on Wednesday, a United States military official said, playing it down by saying that it did not pose a threat to American or other Western shipping or military bases in the region. The missile was launched from the southern coast of Iran and landed east of Tehran, the official said on Thursday, adding that it flew about 1,100 kilometers, or about 680 miles, and stayed inside Iran for the entire flight. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence analyses, said that American officials had been closely monitoring the test site as Iran prepared the missile for launch. (New York Times)

07-25-2019
Terrorism

The Shin Bet intelligence agency said that it busted an Iranian espionage network that aimed to recruit operatives in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip "for the benefit of Iranian intelligence."

The Shin Bet intelligence agency said Wednesday that it busted an Iranian espionage network that aimed to recruit operatives in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip "for the benefit of Iranian intelligence." The Shin Bet cooperated with Israeli police, the army and other security bodies in this regard. According to a statement issued by the agency, the network was based in Syria under Iranian guidance and was led by a Syrian operative nicknamed ‘Abu Jihad.’ It attempted to recruit people via preliminary contacts based on fictitious Facebook profiles and later messaging apps. “Using social networks to recruit people is a method known to intelligence elements including those affiliated with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The affair joins other recent events in which terrorist elements (including those from Hamas and Hezbollah) have established contacts with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians over the internet in order to recruit them for intelligence gathering and terrorist activity,” revealed the statement. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

07-24-2019
Human Rights

Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of "spreading propaganda" against the Islamic republic.

Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of "spreading propaganda" against the Islamic republic, a charge that is often brought against intellectuals and critics of the Iranian establishment. Rasoulof told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on July 22 that he also has been banned from leaving the country for two years and faces a two-year ban on membership in political and social parties and organizations. He has 20 days to appeal the sentence. The 47-year-old filmmaker, who has been detained and banned from leaving the country in the past, says the content of movies, which authorities consider a threat against the clerical establishment, is the reason for his new conviction. (RFE/RL)

07-24-2019
Anti-Americanism

The top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States under any circumstances, an apparent hardening of its position as the Gulf tanker crisis escalates.

The top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Tehran would not negotiate with the United States under any circumstances, an apparent hardening of its position as the Gulf tanker crisis escalates. … The tough remarks by Khamenei’s aide, Hossein Dehghan, a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards whose views are seen as reflecting those of Khamenei, appeared to take a firm line in response to Western proposals to beef up security in the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of the seizure of the ship. Dehghan said Iran would take action if the status of the strait were altered, and that no country would be allowed to ship oil through it unless all countries can. (Reuters)

07-23-2019
Terrorism

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations accused Iran of exploiting civilian companies and maritime channels to smuggle weapons manufacturing equipment to its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday accused Iran of exploiting civilian companies and maritime channels to smuggle weapons manufacturing equipment to its Lebanese proxy group, Hezbollah. In the quarterly meeting on the Middle East, Ambassador Danny Danon told the Security Council that Israeli intelligence has uncovered evidence showing Iran’s Quds Force has been using the port of Beirut to ship items to the terror group since last year. “In the years 2018-2019, Israel found that dual-use items are smuggled into Lebanon to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities,” he said. “Iran and the Quds Force have begun to advance the exploitation of the civilian maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut,” Danon said. “The Port of Beirut has become the Port of Hezbollah.” (Times of Israel)

07-22-2019
Terrorism

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with a delegation from the Palestinian terror group Hamas and held talks with its deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, who is heading the delegation.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met Monday with a delegation from the Palestinian terror group Hamas and held talks with its deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, who is heading the delegation. Khamenei told the Hamas officials that supporting the Palestinians “is an ideological and religious matter” and strongly condemned the Mideast peace plan pushed by US President Donald Trump’s administration, which he said the Palestinians have “precision missiles” to resist. “The dangerous conspiracy of the ‘Deal of the Century’ is aimed at destroying the Palestinian identity among the Palestinian public and youth,” an English statement on his website quoted him as saying. (Times of Israel)

07-19-2019
Anti-Americanism

Immediately after entering the Strait of Hormuz at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, a group of six U.S. Navy ships had a series of tense encounters with the Iranian military, culminating in the downing of an Iranian drone.

Immediately after entering the Strait of Hormuz at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, a group of six U.S. Navy ships had a series of tense encounters with the Iranian military, culminating in the downing of an Iranian drone. The incident came after the group of six ships led by this sea-to-land assault vessel headed into waters where the U.S. and the U.K. have blamed Iran for attacking or harassing commercial vessels. Iran downed an American spy drone over the Persian Gulf last month and, on Thursday, seized a foreign vessel it accused of smuggling. An unarmed Iranian navy Bell 212 helicopter flew alongside the Boxer, yards away from the deck, before it was chased away by a U.S. helicopter. The commander of the Boxer, Capt. Ronald Dowdell, called the engagement “surreal.” The convoy swept past the speed boats without incident but was followed by the larger Iranian military vessel, which came as close as 500 yards to the Boxer—the distance the U.S. navy allows before verbally communicating to a ship not to come any closer. (Wall Street Journal)

07-18-2019
Syria Conflict

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran has detained a foreign oil tanker it said had been smuggling fuel, Iranian news media reported, days after a United Arab Emirates vessel with the same name disappeared in the Persian Gulf.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran has detained a foreign oil tanker it said had been smuggling fuel, Iranian news media reported on Thursday, days after a United Arab Emirates vessel with the same name disappeared in the Persian Gulf. The disclosure raised tensions in the running conflict that has pitted Iran against some of its regional neighbors and the United States. Several state news organizations in Iran reported the seizure of the tanker, based on a statement from the Revolutionary Guards, which claimed that the ship had been carrying one million liters of contraband fuel. The Iranian state news agency Al Alam reported that the Revolutionary Guards detained the ship on Sunday. (The New York Times)

07-18-2019
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary has just confirmed the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian anthropologist, in Tehran.

Iran’s judiciary has just confirmed the arrest of Fariba Adelkhah, a French-Iranian anthropologist, in Tehran. Media sources had earlier reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Intelligence Organization arrested Adelkhah, a researcher at the Paris-based academic institute Sciences Po, at her home on June 7. She has been detained ever since. The accusations against her remain unclear, but her arrest fits an all-too-familiar pattern concerning Iran’s targeting of dual nationals. As the IRGC Intelligence Organization has gained more power domestically, the agency has carried out the majority of arrests of Iranian dual national citizens and foreigners whom it perceives have links with Western academic, economic, and cultural institutions. These include academics, art curators, and journalists. During interrogations, IRGC officials reportedly accuse detainees of espionage, not based on specific evidence, but simply because of detainees’ affiliations with Western public institutions. Iranian state media also broadcast so-called “documentaries,” accusing suspects of being spies for foreign countries before they are convicted. (Human Rights Watch)

07-18-2019
Nuclear Program

The United States imposed sanctions on an international network of companies and their agents it said were involved in the procurement of materials for Iran’s nuclear program.

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an international network of companies and their agents it said were involved in the procurement of materials for Iran’s nuclear program. They are the first punitive steps by Washington since Tehran announced earlier this month it would increase its levels of enriched uranium that can be used for bomb fuel. Tehran announced on July 1 that it had amassed more low-enriched uranium than permitted under its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, marking its first major step beyond the terms of the pact since the United States withdrew more than a year ago. “Treasury is taking action to shut down an Iranian nuclear procurement network that leverages Chinese- and Belgium-based front companies to acquire critical nuclear materials and benefit the regime’s malign ambitions,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. (Reuters)

07-17-2019
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it launched a drone attack on Jizan airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, part of an escalation of cross-border assaults in the 4-year-old conflict.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said it launched a drone attack on Jizan airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia early on Wednesday, part of an escalation of cross-border assaults in the 4-year-old conflict. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen said it had intercepted and downed a Houthi drone heading towards civilian targets in Jizan. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saria said the attack disrupted operations at the airport. The Houthis, who control the capital Sanaa, have in the past few months stepped up their attacks against targets in Saudi Arabia. In response, the coalition has targeted military sites belonging to the group, especially around Sanaa. (Reuters)

07-17-2019
Human Rights

A British-Iranian woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, detained in Tehran since 2016 has been moved to a hospital psychiatric unit, her family said, prompting fears for her well-being.

A British-Iranian woman detained in Tehran since 2016 has been moved to a hospital psychiatric unit, her family said, prompting fears for her well-being. The moving of the woman, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, was initially seen as a positive development, because she had been requesting treatment for months. But her family said on Wednesday that they had not been able to speak with her for days. They say she is under the watch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a powerful arm of the Iranian military. And they worry that the group’s involvement could mean that she is being pressured by the government. (The New York Times)

07-17-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran is capable of shutting the Strait of Hormuz -- a crucial choke-point for oil flows -- but doesn’t want to do it, the country’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

Iran is capable of shutting the Strait of Hormuz -- a crucial choke-point for oil flows -- but doesn’t want to do it, the country’s foreign minister said. “We certainly have the ability to do it, but we certainly don’t want to do it because the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are our lifeline,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television in New York. “It has to be secured. We play a big role in securing it, but it has to be secure for everybody.” About one-third of the world’s seaborne crude and fuels passed through the Strait of Hormuz last year, highlighting its key role in global oil markets. In May and June, six tankers were attacked in the region. While Iran has been blamed for attacks on merchant shipping, it has denied responsibility. (Bloomberg)

07-16-2019
Extremism

Ayatollah Khamenei struck a belligerent tone in an escalating confrontation with the West, promising further Iranian violations of the fraying nuclear agreement and retaliation for what he called the piracy of an Iranian tanker by “the vicious British."

Iran’s top leader struck a belligerent tone Tuesday in an escalating confrontation with the West, promising further Iranian violations of the fraying nuclear agreement and retaliation for what he called the piracy of an Iranian tanker by “the vicious British.” The defiance expressed by the top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, contrasted with what seemed like a less confrontational stance taken at the White House. President Trump told reporters that “we’re not looking for regime change” in Iran and that Iranian leaders had communicated a desire for negotiations with the United States despite their hostile remarks in public. “They’d like to talk, and we’ll see what happens,” Mr. Trump said. Mike Pompeo, Mr. Trump’s secretary of state, asserted that Iran was willing to negotiate over its missile program, an area of Western concern that was not covered in the 2015 nuclear agreement. (The New York Times)

07-13-2019
Terrorism

Iran won’t stand alone in fighting the U.S. if war breaks out between the two nations, the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah said.

Iran won’t stand alone in fighting the U.S. if war breaks out between the two nations, the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah said. Groups backed by Iran are currently in talks about the possibility of such a conflict, Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the militant organization, said in an interview broadcast Friday on its Al Manar TV. “Are we going to sit back and watch? Iran won’t be alone in the war, that is clear,” he said. (Bloomberg)

07-11-2019
Human Rights

The Iranian Human Rights News Agency, HRANA, reported that outspoken political activist Mohammad Nourizad, has been jailed.

The Iranian Human Rights News Agency, HRANA, reported on Wednesday July 10 that outspoken political activist Mohammad Nourizad, has been jailed. Nourizad was one of the signatories of a statement by 14 Iranian activists who called on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to resign in order to end the country's political deadlock. Nourizad had said on Monday that he was going to Tehran's Evin Prison, where he was summoned to offer explanations about his visit to flood stricken areas in northern Iran in April. However, social media activists link the arrest to the statement signed by Nourizad and 13 other political activists. (Radio Farda)

07-11-2019
Military

Three Iranian boats briefly tried to block passage of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, Britain’s Defense Ministry said.

Three Iranian boats on Thursday briefly tried to block passage of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, Britain’s Defense Ministry said, in the latest sign that Tehran is seeking any possible pressure point it can exploit in its escalating confrontation with the West. The tanker, British Heritage, was under escort by a warship, the Montrose, and after a brief standoff but no exchange of fire the three Iranian boats complied with “verbal warnings” to retreat, the ministry said in a statement. “We are concerned by this action and continue to urge the Iranian authorities to de-escalate the situation in the region,” it said. (New York Times)

07-11-2019
Nuclear Program

If European countries do not meet their commitments under a nuclear deal then Iran will “strongly” take more steps to reduce its own obligations, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.

If European countries do not meet their commitments under a nuclear deal then Iran will “strongly” take more steps to reduce its own obligations, a senior Iranian parliamentarian said on Thursday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. … Iran threatened on Monday to restart deactivated centrifuges and ramp up uranium enrichment to 20% purity, a move that would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge stocks of fissile material just beyond limits in the pact. “In the event that Europe does not act on its commitments during the 60-day time span which we are currently in, Iran will take the third step strongly,” Mojtaba Zolnour, the chairman of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy commission, said, according to Fars. (Reuters)

07-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran has surpassed the 3.67% cap on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and is now enriching uranium at 4.5%, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said.

Iran has surpassed the cap on uranium enrichment set by a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Monday, warning that Tehran would take further steps to reduce its commitments under the accord. Behrouz Kamalvandi, speaking to local news agencies, said Iran has exceeded the 3.67 percent limit and is now enriching uranium at 4.5 percent, a rate far below the 90 percent needed to produce a nuclear weapon. The move was designed to pressure Europe to reset the terms of the nuclear agreement following a U.S. withdrawal from the pact last year. The deal curbed Iran’s atomic energy activities in exchange for widespread sanctions relief. (Washington Post)

07-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran warned it will take further steps to breach the 2015 nuclear accord in early September if it doesn’t receive long-sought relief from U.S. economic sanctions, as it began enriching uranium above limits set out in the deal.

Iran warned it will take further steps to breach the 2015 nuclear accord in early September if it doesn’t receive long-sought relief from U.S. economic sanctions, as it began enriching uranium above limits set out in the deal. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that Iran is prepared to take harder and more steadfast measures than the modest steps it has recently taken to expand its nuclear program, setting in motion what is likely to become months of escalating tension with Washington. President Trump said on Sunday that Iran “better be careful,” while senior U.S. officials signaled that Washington had every intention of continuing its economic-pressure campaign.

07-07-2019
Extremism

If Iran decides to confront you, a missile strike on the Dimona reactor would be enough," said Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani in a sermon addressing the United States and Israel, according to a report by Radio Farda.

If Iran decides to confront you, a missile strike on the Dimona reactor would be enough," said Tehran's Friday Prayer Imam Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani in a sermon addressing the United States and Israel, according to a report by Radio Farda. Movahedi-Kermani threatened that such an attack on the nuclear reactor in Israel's Negev desert would "plow Israel 200 times." "You are living in a glass house. You’d better watch out," said the Tehran-based Imam. He also warned the US against a military attack on Iran, saying: "Think of an attack only if you want to change the color of the Persian Gulf waters from azure to red." (Jerusalem Post)

07-06-2019
Syria Conflict

In a growing and increasingly consistent sign that Iran is linked to Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iranian media plastered headlines with a story of a drone attack on Jizan Airport in southern Saudi Arabia.

In a growing and increasingly consistent sign that Iran is linked to Houthi drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, Iranian media plastered headlines with a story of a drone attack on Jizan Airport in southern Saudi Arabia. The report from Fars News says the Yemeni Armed Forces – its term for the Houthi rebels – launched a drone attack Thursday night on Jizan Airport and “significant military targets” at the airport. The drones were described as Qasef-K2, which were using precision guidance. The Houthis claimed the attack was the latest in a series retaliating for Saudi airstrikes over the last four years, since Riyadh intervened in Yemen to stop the Houthis seizing the Port of Aden. The Houthis also said the drone raid was an attempt to show the US what they are capable of. Houthis celebrated what they claimed was the end of flights in Jizan due to the drones. Tasnim News also reported the attack. (Jerusalem Post)

07-05-2019
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic has executed at least 110 people between January 1 and June 30, 2019, in prisons or in public, Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRO) reports.

The Islamic Republic has executed at least 110 people between January 1 and June 30, 2019, in prisons or in public, Iran Human Rights Organization (IHRO) reports. The number shows a rise compared with the same period last year. Two juveniles were among the executed, IHRO says, adding, the executioners hanged them in the central prison in the city of Shiraz (known as Adel Abad, meaning "Prosperous Place of Justice" in Persian). The hangings triggered widespread international criticism. Amin Sedaghat and Mehdi Sohrabifar, 17-year old cousins, were executed in early morning on April 25. They were 15 at the time of their arrest for rape and robbery, while one of them had a mental disability. (Radio Farda)

07-04-2019
Syria Conflict

British special forces seized a supertanker off Gibraltar carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European and U.S. sanctions against the war-torn country.

British special forces seized a supertanker off Gibraltar carrying Iranian oil to Syria in violation of European and U.S. sanctions against the war-torn country. Iran responded by declaring the action illegal and summoning the British ambassador to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran to explain the ship’s arrest. The diplomatic row heightened tensions just as the U.K., France and Germany try to keep the Islamic Republic from walking away from an international deal to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. The U.S. quit the pact a year ago, prompting Tehran to make good on an earlier warning that it would exceed the limits on its stockpile of enriched uranium. While Syrians will feel the immediate impact of halting the crucial oil shipment to the country, the arrested vessel shows the difficulty Iran faces in finding outlets for its crude as President Donald Trump’s administration ramps up sanctions. Iran’s oil production has dropped by 1.5 million barrel a day over the past year, poleaxing the Islamic Republic’s economy. (Bloomberg)

07-01-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran said that it has exceeded the 300-kilogram (660-pound) stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers because Europe has failed to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions.

Iran said Monday that it has exceeded the stockpile limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers because Europe has failed to mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions, a move that could add to the friction between Tehran and Washington. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, confirmed that Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium exceeded the 300-kilogram (660-pound) limit allowed under the deal, spokesman Fredrik Dahl said.  Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the move was “reversible” but warned that Iran could continue to reduce its commitment to the agreement if Europe does not take action to uphold the other side of the deal, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. (Washington Post)

06-30-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia has intercepted two drones launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman has said.

Saudi Arabia has intercepted two drones launched by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels, a Saudi-led coalition spokesman has said. The first drone targeted the province of Jizan, while the second was aimed at a residential area in Asir province, the coalition said in a statement released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency late on Saturday. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, said the drones caused no damage or casualties. (Al Jazeera)

06-27-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran will exceed limits on low-enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear accord unless Britain, France and Germany take timely, practical steps to preserve the agreement that is "now in critical condition," the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. said.

Iran will exceed limits on low-enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear accord unless Britain, France and Germany take timely, practical steps to preserve the agreement that is "now in critical condition," the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. said Wednesday. Majid Takht Ravanchi told a Security Council meeting that the three European countries, which support the deal, and the United States, which pulled out of it, will have to "accept the full responsibility for any possible consequences" if serious steps aren't taken. Britain, France, Germany and three other European Union countries responded by strongly urging Iran to abide by the agreement and "refrain from escalatory steps." (Associated Press)

06-26-2019
Anti-Americanism

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out any negotiations with Washington and said that only the threat of military force provides protection from American domination.

In his first public comments since President Trump aborted an imminent attack on Iran last week, its top leader on Wednesday ruled out any negotiations with Washington and said that only the threat of military force provides protection from American domination. “Negotiation is an effort to deceive into doing what the U.S. desires,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the English translation on his official website. “It is like you hold a weapon, so the other side does not dare come close,” the ayatollah said, and then the Americans order Iran to drop the weapon “so I can do whatever I want to you.” “This is what they mean by negotiation,” he said. “If you accept their request, you will suffer the worst things, and if you don’t accept it, you will face the huff and puff and their hassles over human rights excuses.” (New York Times)

06-24-2019
Terrorism

Iran is setting up a network of terror cells in Africa to attack US and other Western targets in retaliation for Washington’s decision to impose sanctions against Tehran, according to Western security officials.

Iran is setting up a network of terror cells in Africa to attack US and other Western targets in retaliation for Washington’s decision to impose sanctions against Tehran, according to Western security officials. The new terror network has been established on the orders of Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the elite section of Iran’s Republican Guard Corps that has responsibility for overseas operations. The aim of the new terror cell is to target US and other Western military bases on the continent, as well as embassies and officials. The Iranian cells are said to be active in a number of African countries including Sudan, Chad, Ghana, Niger, Gambia and the Central African Republic. (Telegraph)

06-23-2019
Syria Conflict

One person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on a Saudi airport, Saudi Arabia said.

One person was killed and seven others were wounded on Sunday in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on a Saudi airport, Saudi Arabia said. The strike came as the American secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, traveled to the country for talks on Iran. … Sunday’s attack by the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, targeted the Saudi airport in Abha. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than four years. A Houthi spokesman, Yahia al-Sarie, said earlier Sunday that the rebels had launched drones against Saudi airports in the southern cities of Abha and Jizan. Saudi Arabia’s military spokesman, Col. Turki al-Maliki, did not say what type of weapon was used in the attack late Sunday. The Saudi Press Agency reported that a Syrian resident of Saudi Arabia had been killed, but did not identify the nationalities of those wounded. (Associated Press)

06-21-2019
Terrorism

A multinational task force said it is keeping Iran on a financial blacklist for failing to take action to head off funds flowing to terrorists.

A multinational task force said Friday it is keeping Iran on a financial blacklist for failing to take action to head off funds flowing to terrorists. The 38-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it will require more onerous financial oversight if Tehran fails to meet an October deadline for improving its controls. "The FATF expects Iran to proceed swiftly in the reform path to ensure that it addresses all of the remaining items," according to the statement, while welcoming "high-level political commitment" to repair the deficiencies. (AFP)

06-20-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran shot down a United States military drone, further escalating the already volatile situation playing out between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East.

Iran shot down a United States military drone on Thursday, further escalating the already volatile situation playing out between Washington and Tehran in the Middle East. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it had shot down an "intruding American spy drone" after it entered into the country's territory Thursday. A US official confirmed to CNN a drone had been shot down, but said the incident occurred in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most vital shipping routes. The location of the drone has become a key point of contention since the incident. Iran maintains that the US aircraft was downed in Iranian territory, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeting a timeline of the incident later on Thursday. "At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59'43"N 57°02'25"E) near Kouh-e Mobarak," he wrote. The United States countered with its own coordinates, suggesting that the drone had been flying in international airspace when it was shot down, at a point about nine nautical miles southwest of that cited by Iran. (CNN)

06-20-2019
Terrorism

Three different cybersecurity firms now say they've watched Iran's hackers try to gain access to a wide array of US organizations.

WHEN TWO COUNTRIES begin to threaten war in 2019, it's a safe bet that they've already been hacking each other's networks. Right on schedule, three different cybersecurity firms now say they've watched Iran's hackers try to gain access to a wide array of US organizations over the past few weeks, just as military tensions between the two countries rise to a breaking point—though it's not yet clear whether those hacker intrusions are aimed at intelligence gathering, laying the groundwork for a more disruptive cyberattack, or both. Analysts at two security firms, Crowdstrike and Dragos, tell WIRED that they've seen a new campaign of targeted phishing emails sent to a variety of US targets last week from a hacker group known by the names APT33, Magnallium, or Refined Kitten and widely believed to be working in the service of the Iranian government. Dragos named the Department of Energy and US national labs as some of the half-dozen targeted organizations. A third security firm, FireEye, independently confirmed that it's seen a broad Iranian phishing campaign targeting both government agencies and private sector companies in the US and Europe, without naming APT33 specifically. None of the companies had any knowledge of successful intrusions. (Wired)

06-17-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran said that its stockpile of enriched uranium will surpass limits set by the 2015 international nuclear deal 10 days from now, unless European partners in the agreement do more to help it circumvent U.S. sanctions.

Iran said Monday that its stockpile of enriched uranium will surpass limits set by the 2015 international nuclear deal 10 days from now, unless European partners in the agreement do more to help it circumvent U.S. sanctions — a step by Tehran likely to add to growing U.S.-Iran tensions. The announcement, made by the spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was the first time Tehran explicitly said it was on track to violate the agreement. The increase in both quantity and quality of the enriched fuel could shorten the time, currently estimated at one year, that it would take to produce enough for a nuclear weapon. “There is still time for the European countries, but if they want more time it means that they either can’t or don’t want to honor their obligations” under the deal, spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told reporters gathered at Iran’s Arak heavy-water reactor. (Washington Post)

06-16-2019
Syria Conflict

Houthi rebels in Yemen recently shot down a U.S. government-operated drone with assistance from Iran, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Houthi rebels in Yemen recently shot down a U.S. government-operated drone with assistance from Iran, the U.S. military said in a statement on Sunday. Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said the altitude at which the MQ-9 drone was shot down on June 6 marked “an improvement over previous Houthi capability,” a fact that led the military to conclude the rebel group had help from Iran. Brown also noted that on June 13, Iran separately tried to shoot down yet another U.S. drone over the Gulf of Oman in an effort to disrupt surveillance of Iran’s attack on Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers attacked on Thursday. (Reuters)

06-15-2019
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Houthi movement launched fresh drone attacks targeting Jizan and Abha airports in southern Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV said, adding the installations were out of service.

Yemen’s Houthi movement launched fresh drone attacks targeting Jizan and Abha airports in southern Saudi Arabia, the group’s Al-Masirah TV said on Saturday, adding the installations were out of service. The Saudi-led coalition said in a statement that it had intercepted and downed a Houthi drone targeting the southwestern city of Abha. The Iran-aligned group said multiple drone strike targeted control rooms at Jizan airport and a fuel station at Abha airport. (Reuters)

06-13-2019
Human Rights

Workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane plant say the judicial authorities in Tehran are incessantly harassing their imprisoned co-workers and their relatives.

Workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane plant say the judicial authorities in Tehran are incessantly harassing their imprisoned co-workers and their relatives. Speaking to Radio Farda, a Haft Tappeh worker disclosed that following the referral of legal cases against his peers to the capital city, and placing detained workers behind bars in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, it has become increasingly difficult for family members to visit them from from the oil-rich Khuzestan Province, southwest Iran. Thousands of Haft Tappeh workers held massive protests last November, demanding long overdue wages and the return of the agro-industrial complex’s ownership to the public sector. (Radio Farda)

06-13-2019
Syria Conflict

The U.S. blamed Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, saying the assaults were the latest in a series of hostile actions meant to disrupt the flow of oil.

The U.S. blamed Iran for attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, saying the assaults were the latest in a series of hostile actions meant to disrupt the flow of oil. “Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, vowing the U.S. would defend itself and its partners. The flare-up is the latest since President Trump’s decision last year to pull out of a 2015 international deal to cap Iran’s nuclear program. Four tankers were attacked last month in the Gulf of Oman, an incident the U.S. also blamed on Iran. (Wall Street Journal)

06-12-2019
Human Rights

Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese man and permanent U.S. resident who was recently released from an Iranian prison, said he was subjected to "all kinds of torture," both physical and mental, during his detention in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran.

A Lebanese man and permanent U.S. resident who was released after spending years in an Iranian prison called on President Donald Trump and Western countries to "please get back your hostages from Iran," adding that he saw American detainees during his nearly four-year imprisonment. In an interview with The Associated Press, Nizar Zakka said he was subjected to "all kinds of torture," both physical and mental, during his detention in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, including standing on one leg for hours, extended periods of interrogation and lack of food. "Nobody on earth deserves such suffering," he said in the 30-minute emotional interview during which he broke down in tears at one point. (Associated Press)

06-12-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia has said it will carry out urgent reprisals as it accused Iran of being behind a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters on a Saudi international airport that injured 26 people.

Saudi Arabia has said it will carry out urgent reprisals as it accused Iran of being behind a late-night cruise missile attack by Houthi rebel fighters on a Saudi international airport that injured 26 people. The Saudi foreign ministry said the Command of Joint Forces of the Coalition promised it “will take urgent and timely measures to deter these Iranian-backed terrorist Houthi militias”. The attack on Abha airport was condemned across the Middle East and by the US defence department. The Saudi-backed Yemeni government, which has been fighting a four-year civil war against the Houthi rebels, claimed the missile directed at the airport had been supplied by Iran, even claiming Iranian experts were present at the missile’s launch. (The Guardian)

06-11-2019
Human Rights

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday cited "moral principles" when asked why Iran executes homosexuals for their sexual orientation, as he also attacked the US and Israel for "violating human rights."

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Monday cited "moral principles" when asked why Iran executes homosexuals for their sexual orientation, as he also attacked the US and Israel for "violating human rights." At a press conference in the Iranian capital with his German counterpart, Heiko Maas, Zarif was asked by Bild reporter Paul Ronzheimer about the death penalty for gay people in the Middle Eastern country. "Our society has moral principles, and according to these principles we live," Zarif responded. "These are moral principles regarding the behavior of people in general. And that's because the law is upheld and you abide by laws." (Business Insider)

06-10-2019
Military

Iran said that it had unveiled a new domestically produced air defense system, called the Khordad 15 and inaugurated by Defense Minister Amir Hatami.

Iran said Sunday that it had unveiled a new domestically produced air defense system, called the Khordad 15 and inaugurated by Defense Minister Amir Hatami. It is named for a protest in 1963 against the arrest of Ayatollah Khomeini. This is the latest in a series of local Iranian military endeavors, including new ships, missiles and drones that the country boasts to have built. The new defense system supposedly can intercept up to six “incoming hostile targets simultaneously,” according to Iranian state media. Hatami said the system can detect targets up to 85 km. away and hit them at distances up to 45 km. It uses a Sayyad 3 missile, Press TV reported. According to Tasnim News, it is under the command of Alireza Sabahifard, head of Iran’s air defense systems. Iran previously was using a system linked to the S-200, which is antiquated but which Iran upgraded in 2013. (Jerusalem Post)

06-10-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, warned the U.S. that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat.

Iran’s foreign minister warned the U.S. on Monday that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat seeking to defuse tensions. A stern-faced Mohammad Javad Zarif offered a series of threats over the ongoing tensions gripping the Persian Gulf. The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Trump also reinstated tough sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil sector. “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” Zarif said. “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.” Zarif also warned: “Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.” (Associated Press)

06-10-2019
Nuclear Program

International inspectors said on Monday that Iran was ramping up its production of nuclear fuel, following through on a threat to begin walking away from restrictions agreed to in a 2015 nuclear accord that President Trump has abandoned.

International inspectors said on Monday that Iran was ramping up its production of nuclear fuel, following through on a threat to begin walking away from restrictions agreed to in a 2015 nuclear accord that President Trump has abandoned. The announcement of Iran’s actions came from Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for verifying Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration. “Yes, production rate is increasing,” he said at a news conference in Vienna, in response to a question about whether Iran was enforcing orders President Hassan Rouhani issued last month. The fuel in question is low-enriched uranium, used in nuclear power plants. It would have to be further enriched to be used in a weapon. (New York Times)

06-05-2019
Nuclear Program

A former deputy head of the UN’s atomic watchdog, Olli Heinonen, said that Iran is capable of producing enough enriched uranium a nuclear bomb in six to eight months.

A former deputy head of the UN’s atomic watchdog said Wednesday that Iran is capable of producing enough enriched uranium a nuclear bomb in six to eight months. In an interview with Israel’s Army Radio, Olli Heinonen said that Israel and the Gulf states “have a reason to worry.” Heinonen said that despite assertions to the contrary by the current leadership of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which he left in 2010, Tehran has not been adhering to the 2015 nuclear deal. “Iran is actually weaponizing uranium enrichment without making a weapon,” he claimed. (Times of Israel)

06-05-2019
Extremism

Iran’s supreme leader accused Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries of betraying the Palestinians by cooperating with the U.S. and Israel.

Iran’s supreme leader accused Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries of betraying the Palestinians by cooperating with the U.S. and Israel, in an attempt to rally regional supporters and raise the stakes for the Trump administration’s long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday the Arab countries were committing “a big treason to the Islamic world” by supporting the U.S.’s so-called deal of the century. His remarks were an attempt to place Iran at the helm of the Palestinian cause, an emotive issue that continues to resonate across the Middle East, as part of Tehran’s bid for regional leadership and amid growing tensions with Washington and Arab rivals. (Wall Street Journal)

06-03-2019
Human Rights

An Iranian lawyer, Amir Salar Davoudi, has been jailed for 30 years after setting up a channel on the popular social media platform Telegram, highlighting human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic.

An Iranian lawyer has been jailed for 30 years after setting up a channel on the popular social media platform Telegram, highlighting human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic. Amir Salar Davoudi was convicted by a revolutionary court for “propaganda against the state” and “insulting officials” and is set to be flogged 111 times. According to his lawyer Vahid Farahani, Davoudi was also accused of “collaborating with an enemy state” after giving an interview to Voice of America Persian-language television. (VOA)

06-02-2019
Anti-Americanism

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has threatened that U.S. military personnel and warships in the region are within the range of Iranian missiles.

Yahya Rahim Safavi, a top military adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has threatened that U.S. military personnel and warships in the region are within the range of Iranian missiles. … Rahim Safavi, a former commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), who is currently Khamenei's top military adviser, told IRGC-linked Fars news agency on Sunday that "The United States has more than 25 military bases in the region where over 20,000 U.S. military personnel are based."

06-01-2019
Anti-Americanism

Hezbollah's leader warned the United States against striking Iran, saying if it does "the entire region will burn."

Hezbollah's leader warned the United States against striking Iran, saying if it does "the entire region will burn." US President Donald Trump "knows that when the region is on fire, a barrel of oil will be $200 or $300," Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group, said Friday during a televised speech. "The US knows well that any war on Iran will not remain confined to Iran's borders. The entire region will burn, leading to all US forces and interests in the region to be annihilated." (CNN)

05-30-2019
Terrorism

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar thanked Iran for providing his terror group the rockets it used to strike deep into Israel and warned the Jewish state that Tel Aviv would be struck again in response to any offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar on Thursday thanked Iran for providing his terror group the rockets it used to strike deep into Israel and warned the Jewish state that Tel Aviv would be struck again in response to any offensive against the Gaza Strip. “Iran provided us with rockets, and we surprised the world when our resistance targeted Beersheba,” Sinwar said in a live TV address, referring to the weekend of violence at the beginning of the month, during which Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired nearly 700 rockets at Israel. “Had it not been for Iran, the resistance in Palestine would not have possessed its current capabilities,” Sinwar said. (Times of Israel)

05-29-2019
Anti-Americanism

A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and journalists to spread messages in support of Iran and against U.S. President Donald Trump around the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said.

A network of fake social media accounts impersonated political candidates and journalists to spread messages in support of Iran and against U.S. President Donald Trump around the 2018 congressional elections, cybersecurity firm FireEye said on Tuesday. The findings show how unidentified, possibly government-backed, groups could manipulate social media platforms to promote stories and other content that can influence the opinions of American voters, the researchers said. This particular operation was largely focused on promoting “anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian themes,” according to the report by FireEye. (Reuters)

05-25-2019
Syria Conflict

American military officials said Friday that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates earlier this month.

American military officials said Friday that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is directly responsible for attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates earlier this month. The officials said the attacks were part of a “campaign” by the Iranian regime that prompted the U.S. to deploy additional troops to the Middle East. “The attack against the shipping in Fujairah we attribute it to the IRGC,” said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff. He added that the Pentagon attributed limpet mines used in the attack to the IRGC. He declined to describe “the means of delivery” of the mines. (Fox News)

05-23-2019
Politics

Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has openly shrugged off responsibility for the nuclear agreement Iran concluded with world powers in 2015.

Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has openly shrugged off responsibility for the nuclear agreement Iran concluded with world powers in 2015. Khamenei, who was speaking to hand-picked representatives of Iranian students on Wednesday, May 22, expressed his dissatisfaction with the way President Hassan Rouhani and his team handled the nuclear deal also known as JCPOA. He insisted that "I did not believe in the way the JCPOA was done, and I have made this clear to the president and the foreign minister on many occasions." Referring to a letter he sent to President Rouhani on October 21, 2015, Khamenei noted, "Read my letter regarding the JCPOA and the conditions set for its ratification. But, if these conditions were not met, it is not the Leader’s responsibility to intervene." (Radio Farda)

05-23-2019
Syria Conflict

New satellite images indicate Iran is building a border crossing at the Syrian-Iraqi border, which would open up a coveted land route from Iran to Lebanon, according to Western intelligence sources.

New satellite images indicate Iran is building a border crossing at the Syrian-Iraqi border, which would open up a coveted land route from Iran to Lebanon, according to Western intelligence sources. The images, obtained exclusively by Fox News and captured earlier this week, show a new construction in the Albukamal Al-Qaim crossing. The area is under the control of Pro-Iranian Shiite militias. Last summer, Iran increased its presence in the area. According to analysts for ISI, which captures satellite data, the existing border crossing is still closed and destroyed, and the Iranians have put a lot of effort and resources into building the new one. The border crossing would enable Iran to maintain land access in Syria, Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea. Regional and western sources said the Iranians are planning to use this new route for smuggling operations, including trafficking weapons and oil, to avoid the looming U.S. sanctions. Without Syrian or Iraqi supervision, Iran and its allies would have an unprecedented advantage in transferring whatever they wish, experts say. (Fox News)

05-22-2019
Extremism

Iran’s youth will witness the demise of Israel and American civilization, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in comments published on his official website.

Iran’s youth will witness the demise of Israel and American civilization, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday in comments published on his official website. “You young people should be assured that you will witness the demise of the enemies of humanity, meaning the degenerate American civilization, and the demise of Israel,” Khamenei said in a meeting with students. He gave no further details. (Reuters)

05-21-2019
Syria Conflict

Air defense crews raced to action in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Najran Tuesday night to intercept an attack from Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels as tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States.

Air defense crews raced to action in the southern Saudi Arabian city of Najran Tuesday night to intercept an attack from Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels as tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States. The attack on Najran, about 10 miles north of the Saudi border with Yemen, was carried out by one Qasef K-2 drone armed with an explosive warhead and targeted a Saudi airport and military facility, the Houthi news outlet Al Masirah said. The broadcaster added that the drone struck an "arms depot," causing a fire. Najran has repeatedly been targeted by the Houthis since the Saudi-led war in Yemen began four years ago. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states seeking to restore the internationally recognized government ousted from power in Yemen by the Houthis in late 2014. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. (ABC News)

05-20-2019
Syria Conflict

A rocket hit the Green Zone in Baghdad, home to Iraqi government offices and those of other foreign governments, where tensions were already high amid a standoff with Iran.

A rocket hit the Green Zone in Baghdad on Sunday night, home to Iraqi government offices and those of other foreign governments, where tensions were already high amid a standoff with Iran. No one was hurt, said Gen. Yahya Rasool of the Baghdad Joint Command, which includes American and Iraqi forces. He confirmed that a Katyusha rocket had landed in the heavily fortified zone and said it had been fired from across the Tigris River. The American Embassy said that there was no damage to American facilities and that no one had claimed responsibility. (New York Times)

05-20-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia said that it had intercepted two missiles in Mecca province fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site.

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it had intercepted two missiles in Mecca province fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site. The foiled strike comes at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and Gulf Arab states and a roughly four-year conflict in Yemen largely seen as a proxy war between the two sides. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading a Western-backed coalition of Sunni Muslim states that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government ousted from power in Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014. A Saudi coalition spokesman said, “Royal Saudi Defence Forces spotted aerial targets flying through restricted areas in the provinces of Jeddah and Taif and dealt with them as required by the situation,” according to Saudi’s state news agency SPA. (Reuters)

05-20-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran is ramping up its uranium output, a provocative step that threatens to further inflame simmering tensions with the United States and deepen regional conflict following a series of dangerous escalations in the Middle East.

Iran is ramping up its uranium output, a provocative step that threatens to further inflame simmering tensions with the United States and deepen regional conflict following a series of dangerous escalations in the Middle East. Iranian production of low-enriched uranium has recently increased fourfold, putting the nation on a path to exceed limits on nuclear materials set out in a 2015 agreement with world powers, a spokesperson for Iran’s atomic energy agency told Iranian news outlets on Monday. The supplies in question are not enriched to a level suitable for weapons development. Still, the increased output threatens to further erode the Iran nuclear deal and destabilize a region that provides much of the world’s energy supply. (CNBC)

05-17-2019
Syria Conflict

A U.S. assessment determined it is "highly likely" that Iran was behind the attacks on four tankers last weekend, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the findings.

A U.S. assessment determined it is "highly likely" that Iran was behind the attacks on four tankers last weekend, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the findings. The U.S. has evidence, including photos of the damage and forensics, tying Iran or its proxies to the Sunday attacks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, one of the officials said. The four ships — two from Saudi Arabia and one each from the UAE and Norway — were struck with what is now believed to be explosive charges, the officials said. (NBC News)

05-17-2019
Anti-Americanism

A top Republican lawmaker said that the threat from Iran picked up by U.S. intelligence was very specific and involved the possible kidnapping and killing of American soldiers.

A top Republican lawmaker said Friday that the threat from Iran picked up by U.S. intelligence – which sparked a U.S. military deployment to the Middle East and heightened tensions across the region – was very specific and involved the possible kidnapping and killing of American soldiers. "To the extent I can discuss it, it was human intelligence," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told USA TODAY on Friday. He was referring to intelligence information that prompted the Pentagon to deploy an aircraft carrier, along with B-52 bombers and other military forces, to the Middle East. Trump administration officials said the move was made to counter what they described as credible threats from Iran to U.S. forces in the region. (USA Today)

05-16-2019
Terrorism

A former Uggs salesman with a rocky marriage has been found guilty of working as a “sleeper” agent for an arm of Hezbollah while living in the Bronx — helping the terror group prepare for attacks on New York City.

A former Uggs salesman with a rocky marriage has been found guilty of working as a “sleeper” agent for an arm of Hezbollah while living in the Bronx — helping the terror group prepare for attacks on New York City. After less than a day of deliberations, a Manhattan federal jury found Bronx resident Ali Kourani, 34, guilty on eight counts that included providing support to Hezbollah, which carries up to life in prison. Kourani, looking business casual in a rumpled white dress shirt and dark pants, sat motionless as the jury of eight women and four men rendered its verdict following a weeklong trial. He was hauled in on the charges in 2017 after he spilled his guts to the feds with hopes of becoming an informant — rather than a convicted felon facing a potential life sentence. (New York Post)

05-16-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s most prominent military leader, Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, has recently met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”, the Guardian has learned.

Iran’s most prominent military leader has recently met Iraqi militias in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”, the Guardian has learned. Two senior intelligence sources said that Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s powerful Quds force, summoned the militias under Tehran’s influence three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region. The move to mobilise Iran’s regional allies is understood to have triggered fears in the US that Washington’s interests in the Middle East are facing a pressing threat. The UK raised its threat levels for British troops in Iraq on Thursday. While Suleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s myriad Shia groups over the past five years, the nature and tone of this gathering was different. “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,” one source said. (The Guardian)

05-15-2019
Extremism

Iran’s military commanders said the Islamic Republic was on the verge of an all-out confrontation with its enemies and was ready to counter any threat.

Iran’s military commanders said on Wednesday the Islamic Republic was on the verge of an all-out confrontation with its enemies and was ready to counter any threat. “Iran has the highest level of defense-military preparedness to confront any type of threat and excessive demands,” Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). He said Iran would defeat an American and Israeli alliance. … The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said: “We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy,” the Fars news agency reported. (Reuters)

05-14-2019
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Houthi rebels carried out multiple drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Tuesday, a day after Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers had been damaged in an act of sabotage, ratcheting up tensions in the region.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels carried out multiple drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities on Tuesday, a day after Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers had been damaged in an act of sabotage, ratcheting up tensions in the region. A Houthi spokesman, Mohammed Abdul Salam, claimed responsibility for the drone strikes on Twitter, saying that they were a response to Saudi “aggression” and “genocide” in Yemen. Although the Houthis are backed by Iran, it was unclear whether the attacks were related to increasing tensions between Iran and the United States and its allies in the Persian Gulf. (New York Times)

05-13-2019
Syria Conflict

An initial U.S. assessment indicated Iran likely was behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz.

An initial U.S. assessment indicated Iran likely was behind the attack on two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and two other vessels damaged over the weekend near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. official said, a finding that, if confirmed, would further inflame military tensions in the Persian Gulf. The assessment, while not conclusive, was the first suggestion by any nation that Iran was responsible for the attack and comes after a series of U.S. warnings against aggression by Iran or its allies and proxies against military or commercial vessels in the region. The U.S. official, who declined to be identified, didn’t offer details about what led to the assessment or its implications for a possible U.S. response. The U.S. has said in the past week that it was sending an aircraft carrier, an amphibious assault ship, a bomber task force and an antimissile system to the region after it alleged intelligence showed Iran posed a threat to its troops. (Wall Street Journal)

05-09-2019
Syria Conflict

The U.S. decision to surge additional military forces into the Middle East was based on intelligence that the Iranian regime has told some of its proxy forces and surrogates that they can now go after American military personnel and assets in the region.

The U.S. decision to surge additional military forces into the Middle East was based in part on intelligence that the Iranian regime has told some of its proxy forces and surrogates that they can now go after American military personnel and assets in the region, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence. The intelligence shows that an Iranian official discussed activating Iranian-backed groups to target Americans, but did not mention targeting the militaries of other nations, the officials said. Among the specific threats the U.S. military is now tracking, officials say, are possible missile attacks by Iranian dhows, or small ships, in the Persian Gulf; attacks in Iraq by Iranian-trained Shiite militia groups; and attacks against U.S. ships by the Houthi rebels in Yemen. (NBC News)

05-08-2019
Nuclear Program

Iran threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran threatened Wednesday to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal, raising regional tensions as a U.S. aircraft carrier and bombers headed to the Middle East to confront Tehran. A televised address by President Hassan Rouhani, who once pledged that the landmark deal would draw Iran closer to the West, saw the cleric instead pressure Europe to shield Tehran from the sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement exactly a year earlier. Rouhani’s threats put the world on notice that it cannot continue to rely on Iran complying with terms of the unraveling deal in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, a U.S. campaign of sanctions hammering Iran’s anemic economy and blocking its sale of oil on the global market is only making life worse, putting further pressure on both its Shiite theocracy and its 80 million people. (Associated Press)

05-02-2019
Terrorism

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed Thursday his Iran-backed terror group would “annihilate and destroy” the Israeli military if the latter entered Lebanon in a future war.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed Thursday his Iran-backed terror group would “annihilate and destroy” the Israeli military if the latter entered Lebanon in a future war. “Israel wants a war? Let it go to war. The Israeli units and brigades that dare to enter southern Lebanon will be annihilated and destroyed on live television before the whole world,” he said, according to multiple media reports in Israel and Lebanon. The taunts are typical of the Lebanese terror group leader, whose organization faced its last war with Israel in 2006. (Times of Israel)

05-02-2019
Human Rights

The US and human rights groups have expressed outrage over reports that Iran has executed two 17-year-old boys, who were 15 when they were convicted in 2017 on multiple rape charges, after what activists said was an unfair trial.

The US and human rights groups have expressed outrage over reports that Iran has executed two 17-year-old boys. Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat were 15 when they were convicted in 2017 on multiple rape charges, after what activists said was an unfair trial. They are believed to have been moved from a juvenile facility to a prison a day before their deaths last Thursday. Iranian authorities reportedly did not inform the boys' families or lawyers that they had been sentenced to death. (BBC)

05-02-2019
Human Rights

Iranian authorities violently dispersed gatherings of independent Iranian labor organizations and arrested dozens of activists who were protesting in association with International Workers’ Day (May Day).

Iranian authorities violently dispersed gatherings of independent Iranian labor organizations and arrested dozens of activists who were protesting in association with International Workers’ Day (May Day). According to the labor organizations involved, dozens of people have been arrested so far. Protesters gathered May 1 in front of Iran’s parliament building, where a number of well-known protesters — including Reza Shahabi, Kayvan Samimi, Hassan Saedi, Vahid Fereydouni and Mohammad Ali Eslaghi — were arrested. Teachers, retirees and students also joined the protests. According to fliers calling for the protests, some of the issues were “instability in the labor force, low and delayed wages, privatization, unsuccessful businesses, and pressure on independent unions and activists.” A previous labor protest April 26 in Tehran was also violently dispersed by security forces and led to the arrests of activists and organizers. While most of the individuals who were arrested from that protest were released the same day, three individuals remain in custody. (Al-Monitor)

04-30-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a bill into law declaring all U.S. forces in the Middle East terrorists and calling the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signed a bill into law on Tuesday declaring all U.S. forces in the Middle East terrorists and calling the U.S. government a sponsor of terrorism. The bill was passed by parliament last week in retaliation for President Donald Trump's decision this month to designate Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards a foreign terrorist organization. It was not clear what the impact of the new Iranian law might have on U.S. forces or their Middle East operations. (VOA)

04-23-2019
Military

Iran will increase naval ties with China in the Northern Indian Ocean, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told his Chinese counterpart, saying it would accelerate the withdrawal of other countries from the region.

Iran will increase naval ties with China in the Northern Indian Ocean, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi told his Chinese counterpart, saying it would accelerate the withdrawal of other countries from the region. “Given the strategic geopolitical situation (of both states), today, we are witnessing a leap in marine civilization in the Pacific Ocean by China and Northern Indian Ocean by Islamic Iran, which will force the arrogant powers to leave our naval zones and the regional powers will certainly fill the security vacuum and there will be no need to foreigners’ presence,” Rear Admiral Khanzadi was quoted as saying in China on Monday, by Iran’s Fars News. Before leaving Tehran, Khanzadi – who is in China to attend the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy – said that the main goal of the trip was to develop interaction and contact between the two navies. (Jerusalem Post)

04-18-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on countries across the Middle East to unite against the United States during an address at an Army Day parade in Tehran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on countries across the Middle East to unite against the United States during an address at an Army Day parade in Tehran. Speaking at a ceremony on Thursday, Rouhani also urged neighbouring countries to "drive back Zionism", saying the US and its ally Israel were the root cause of the region's problems. He added that Iran's armed forces were not a threat against any regional country. (Al Jazeera)

04-15-2019
Syria Conflict

Satellite images released by the Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) showed the complete destruction of a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria’s Masyaf District, allegedly struck by Israel.

Satellite images released by the Israeli intelligence firm ImageSat International (ISI) on Sunday showed the complete destruction of a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory in Syria’s Masyaf District, allegedly struck by Israel on Saturday. “The main industrial structures were completely destroyed, including the main hangar and the adjacent three production hangers and buildings. The rest of the structures were affected and damaged by the blast,” ISI said, adding that they “assess that all the elements and/or equip-ment which were inside are completely destroyed as well.” According to ISI, “if the bombed site was indeed a missile factory, it could allow for the produc-tion and assembly of different SSM [surface-to-surface missile] elements or for improving the accuracy of missiles.” (Jerusalem Post)

04-10-2019
Nuclear Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened the U.S. with unveiling more advanced centrifuges after Washington designated Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has threatened the U.S. with unveiling more advanced centrifuges after Washington designated Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as a “terrorist organization”. Speaking on April 9 at the ceremony for 13th National Day of Nuclear Technology in Iran, Rouhani addressed Washington, saying, "You were afraid of IR1 centrifuges, today we unveiled IR6, and if you continue to walk down this road, you will see cascades of IR8 in the near future." Rouhani went even further, highlighting the threat by praising Tehran's missile power. "If you want to limit Iran’s military power, you know that we have developed missiles since last year that you wouldn’t even imagine," he said. (Radio Farda)

04-09-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iranian lawmakers dressed in paramilitary uniforms chanted “Death to America” as they convened for an open session of parliament after the White House designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization.

Iranian lawmakers dressed in paramilitary uniforms chanted “Death to America” as they convened Tuesday for an open session of parliament after the White House designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a foreign terrorist organization. President Hassan Rouhani declared that the force’s popularity would only surge in the wake of the designation, saying guard members would be dearer “than any other time in the hearts of Iranian nation.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the guard and said America’s “evil designs would not harm” the force. (Associated Press)

04-04-2019
Human Rights

Exiled Iranian opposition activists say Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has fired on protesters who tried to stop it from diverting floodwaters in a southwestern town, resulting in a protester's death.

Exiled Iranian opposition activists say Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has fired on protesters who tried to stop it from diverting floodwaters in a southwestern town, resulting in a protester's death. The activists said the protester died after being shot by IRGC forces in Wednesday's predawn confrontation in the Dasht-e-Azadegan district of Khuzestan province. They said minority Iranian Arab residents of the area, also known as Ahwazis, were trying to stop the IRGC from destroying a dyke and diverting floodwaters into their farmland. The Iran National Council for Free Elections opposition group said the IRCG forces wanted to divert floodwaters to prevent them from entering IRCG-controlled oil installations in the neighboring town of Susangerd. In a Wednesday Instagram post, the group said one protester was killed and several were wounded by IRGC fire. (VOA)

04-04-2019
Nuclear Program

The United Nations’ atomic agency has heeded calls by the U.S. and Israel to inspect a site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last fall was housing Iranian nuclear equipment and material.

The United Nations’ atomic agency has heeded calls by the U.S. and Israel to inspect a site that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed last fall was housing Iranian nuclear equipment and material, according to officials familiar with the agency’s work. But the visit may have come too late to yield proof of the claims. The International Atomic Energy Agency first sent a team of inspectors to the site, which is in Tehran, in February, according to the officials. The agency’s staff took a series of environmental samples that are currently being analyzed, they said. It isn’t clear when the IAEA first asked for access to the site. The tests theoretically could show the presence of nuclear material at the site. But experts say that given the amount of time that has elapsed and the likely removal of equipment, it will be hard to clearly identify whether the Israeli claims are true. (Wall Street Journal)

04-03-2019
Terrorism

Britain’s Sky News says U.S.-based cybersecurity experts have found that a group linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has carried out two cyberattacks on British institutions in recent years.

Britain’s Sky News says U.S.-based cybersecurity experts have found that a group linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has carried out two cyberattacks on British institutions in recent years. A Wednesday report by the British news agency said the California-based cyber experts, whom it did not identify, determined that a suspected IRGC-linked group was behind a previously undisclosed attack on British public and private entities on Dec. 23, 2018, and a previously reported attack on the British parliament’s email network on June 23, 2017. Sky News said it passed the California cyber experts’ findings to British security services, who declined to publicly confirm Iran’s involvement in the two incidents. But the London-based news agency, whose report was cited by several other British news outlets, said four unnamed “security sources” believed the allegations of Iranian involvement to be accurate. (VOA)

03-27-2019
Terrorism

Microsoft took control of 99 websites that it said Iranian hackers had used to try to steal sensitive information from targets in the United States, according to unsealed court documents.

Microsoft took control of 99 websites that it said Iranian hackers had used to try to steal sensitive information from targets in the United States, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. By taking over the sites, Microsoft can stop future cyberattacks and monitor how previously infected computers were compromised, the company said. The hackers “specifically directed” their attacks on people in Washington, Microsoft said in the filing. The hacking group typically has targeted the personal email accounts of people working in both the public and private sectors, including dissidents and workers in government agencies, Microsoft said in court documents. (New York Times)

03-26-2019
Syria Conflict

The U.S. blacklisted members of what officials said was a “vast network” operating in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that helped Iran exchange over $1 billion in currency to finance Iranian military operations throughout the region.

The U.S. blacklisted members of what officials said was a “vast network” operating in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates that helped Iran exchange over $1 billion in currency to finance Iranian military operations throughout the region. The Treasury Department said on Tuesday that more than two dozen sanctioned currency-exchange houses, trading companies and officials helped Iran’s military exchange Iranian rials into euros and U.S. dollars. The U.S. sanctions highlight a financing strategy that intelligence analysts say is being widely employed to help Iran counter the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against Tehran. (Wall Street Journal)

03-26-2019
Syria Conflict

In Islamic State’s former eastern Syrian stronghold, the Islamic Republic of Iran is parlaying its military and economic might into a lasting foothold.

In Islamic State’s former eastern Syrian stronghold, the Islamic Republic of Iran is parlaying its military and economic might into a lasting foothold. On the heels of an Iranian military intervention that has helped bring President Bashar al-Assad to the edge of victory in Syria’s eight-year-long war, Tehran is moving to cement its long-term influence in Syria by cultivating goodwill and winning converts to the Shiite Muslim sect. To Syrians battered by war, Iran is offering cash, food, Iranian ID cards, public services and free education. Iran’s hearts-and-minds campaign undermines efforts by the U.S., Israel and Arab states to roll back Tehran’s influence and force it out of Syria. (Wall Street Journal)

03-21-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran is determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Iran is determined to boost its defense capabilities despite mounting pressure from the United States and its allies to curb its ballistic missile program, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday. “We need to take Iran to a point that enemy understand that they cannot threaten Iran ... America’s sanctions will make Iran self-sufficient,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state TV. “They have always stabbed Iran in the back ... The Western countries have proved they cannot be trusted,” he said in the speech in the holy Shi’ite city of Mashhad. “This mechanism set by the Europeans is like a bitter joke,” Khamenei said, referring to a channel opened by the European signatories of the deal for non-dollar trade with Iran to get around the U.S. sanction. (Reuters)

03-18-2019
Extremism

Iran’s president urged Iranians to put a curse on the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, reiterating his long-standing charge that the U.S. and its allies are responsible for the country’s ailing economy.

Iran’s president on Monday urged Iranians to put a curse on the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, reiterating his long-standing charge that the U.S. and its allies are responsible for the country’s ailing economy. President Hassan Rouhani’s remarks were meant to deflect criticism of his administration’s performance amid a spiraling economy after President Donald Trump last year pulled America out of the nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran, targeting Iran’s vital oil sector. “Put all your curses on those who created the current situation,” Rouhani urged Iranians, adding that “the United States, the Zionists” and Saudi Arabia were to blame. He didn’t say what kind of curses the Iranians should invoke. (AP)

03-18-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran and Syria demanded the United States withdraw its troops from Syria, and the Damascus government threatened U.S.-backed Kurdish forces with military defeat if they did not agree a return of state authority.

Iran and Syria on Monday demanded the United States withdraw its troops from Syria, and the Damascus government threatened U.S.-backed Kurdish forces with military defeat if they did not agree a return of state authority. The Iranian and Syrian military chiefs were speaking after a meeting in Damascus that also included their Iraqi counterpart, who gave a political boost to President Bashar al-Assad and Tehran by announcing the Syrian border would soon be reopened. The United States said last month it would keep some forces in Syria, reversing course from an earlier decision to pull them all out once Islamic State is militarily defeated. (Reuters)

03-14-2019
Military

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says the country’s Revolutionary Guard is holding a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz to test dozens of Iranian-made drones, including armed drones.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency says the country’s Revolutionary Guard is holding a drill near the strategic Strait of Hormuz to test dozens of Iranian-made drones, including armed drones. Thursday’s report says it’s the first time such a high number of offensive drones are being used in a drill. It quotes Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh of the Guard’s aerospace division as saying Iran has the region’s biggest offensive drone fleet. It says the drones flew for about 1,000 kilometers, or 620 miles, then hit their targets. (Associated Press)

03-14-2019
Nuclear Program

New evidence disclosed in Iran’s secret nuclear files taken by the Mossad show that its underground Fordow nuclear facility is older than it has admitted.

New evidence disclosed in Iran’s secret nuclear files taken by the Mossad show that its underground Fordow nuclear facility is older than it has admitted, according to a think-tank report. This discovery could be significant, says the Institute for Science and International Security, because it shows that Iran is still lying to the international community about a nuclear facility that has no reasonable use other than military. The report says that photographs and documents it reviewed from the materials taken from Iran in January 2018 by the Mossad date the facility to as much as five years earlier than the Islamic Republic has led the world to believe. (Jerusalem Post)

03-14-2019
Human Rights

Lawyers representing the family of an American citizen from San Diego detained in Iran said that the Navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Lawyers representing the family of an American citizen from San Diego detained in Iran said Thursday that the Navy veteran has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for insulting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and for disclosing private information by posting a photo on Instagram of a woman he was visiting. Michael White, 46, was detained in Mashhad, a religious city in eastern Iran, last July after traveling there to visit the woman. It was his third time visiting her in the Islamic Republic, said Jonathan Franks, a spokesman for his family. White is being held in Vakilabad Prison, which is known for its executions of drug traffickers. (Los Angeles Times)

03-13-2019
Human Rights

Organizers of a fashion show in Iran were charged after videos of the event, which featured fantasy-inspired dresses and women not wearing hijabs, surfaced on social media.

Organisers of a fashion show in Iran were charged after videos of the event, which featured fantasy-inspired dresses and women not wearing hijabs, surfaced on social media. The outfits were considered by the public prosecutor to have strayed too far from traditional Islamic clothing. An Iranian fashion label organised a private show in the high-end salon Ayneh Divan on March 1 in Lavasan, an affluent suburb of Tehran, sending women down the runway without hijabs, a violation of the country’s strict laws mandating that women appear in public with headscarves. Some were also arrayed in elaborate, fantasy-inspired outfits, which, while not a justifiable crime, is nevertheless seen as promoting a Western lifestyle and not tolerated by conservatives. (France 24)

03-12-2019
Military

The United Nations is investigating two North Korean missile and arms companies suspected of operating in Iran in possible violation of international sanctions, according to a report by a U.N. panel of experts.

The United Nations is investigating two North Korean missile and arms companies suspected of operating in Iran in possible violation of international sanctions, according to a report by a U.N. panel of experts. The presidents of top North Korean regime arms firms, KOMID, which exports equipment for ballistic missiles and other weapons, and Green Pine, which sells conventional arms, recently traveled to Iran, according to air passenger documents cited by the report by the U.N. panel. A U.N. member state informed the panel that the two North Korean arms firms — which are both blacklisted by the United Nations — are “extremely active in Iran now,” Hugh Griffiths, coordinator of the U.N. panel assessing sanctions on North Korea, told NBC News in an exclusive television interview. (NBC News)

03-12-2019
Politics

Iran’s newly appointed head of all-powerful Judiciary has also been elected as deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which elects the Supreme Leader in Iran.

Iran’s newly appointed head of all-powerful Judiciary has also been elected as deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which elects the Supreme Leader in Iran. Ebrahim Raeesi (Raeisi) was elected on Monday with 43 votes out of 78 members present, defeating the former head of the Judiciary, ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani and Fazel Golpaygani, Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday. There have been rumors for months that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been grooming Raeesi to succeed him. His recent appointment as chief judge reinforced those rumors. (Radio Farda)

03-12-2019
Military

A top Iranian military figure known for his shadowy role in Iran's foreign intervention in Iraq and Syria has received his country's highest military honor at a ceremony Monday alongside supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A top Iranian military figure known for his shadowy role in Iran's foreign intervention in Iraq and Syria has received his country's highest military honor at a ceremony Monday alongside supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' expeditionary Quds Force, became the first Iranian general to receive the Order of the Zulfiqar since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew a West-sponsored monarchy. With the U.S. attempting to contain Tehran's growing influence across the region, Soleimani has been a persistent, popular symbol of Iran's footprint abroad. "He has time and time again exposed his life to the invasion of the enemy and he has done so in the way of God, for God and purely for the sake of God. And he has made a great endeavor," Khamenei said. "I hope that God the Exalted will reward and bless him, that He will help him live a blissful life and that he will make his end marked by martyrdom. (Newsweek)

03-12-2019
Human Rights

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her family.

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes, according to her family. Sotoudeh is well known for representing human rights defenders, dissidents and women who protested against the compulsory wearing of a headscarf in Iran. According to IRNA, Iran's state-owned news service, the human rights lawyer was convicted of "gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security" and for "insulting the Supreme Leader". A Facebook post by her husband Reza Khandan said the ruling sentenced her to 33 years and 148 lashes. He added that the punishment brings her prison time to 38 years. In 2016, she was sentenced in absentia to five years, according to Khandan. (CNN)

03-08-2019
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems shot down a drone alleged to have “Iranian characteristics and specifications” over the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s air defense systems shot down a drone over the kingdom on Friday, the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen said, and it accused the country’s Houthi fighters of launching the aircraft and targeting civilians. Some civilians suffered light injuries from debris when the drone was shot down, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said, according to Saudi state television. The aircraft had been heading toward residential areas in Abha, around 230 km (140 miles) north of the border with Yemen, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV said. An inspection of the wreckage showed the drone had “Iranian characteristics and specifications,” Maliki said. (Reuters)

03-06-2019
Terrorism

Cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers have targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years, Microsoft Corp. said.

Cyberattacks linked to Iranian hackers have targeted thousands of people at more than 200 companies over the past two years, Microsoft Corp. said, part of a wave of computer intrusions from the country that researchers say has hit businesses and government entities around the globe. The campaign, the scope of which hadn’t previously been reported, stole corporate secrets and wiped data from computers. It caused damages estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars in lost productivity and affected oil-and-gas companies, heavy-machinery manufacturers and international conglomerates in more than a half-dozen countries including Saudi Arabia, Germany, the U.K., India and the U.S., according to researchers at Microsoft, which deployed incident-response teams to some of the affected companies. “These destructive attacks…are massively destabilizing events,” said John Lambert, the head of Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center. Microsoft traced the attacks to a group it calls Holmium. It is one of several linked by other researchers over the past year to hackers in Iran, a country that many security researchers say aspires to join Russia and China as one of the world’s premier cyber powers. Some of Holmium’s hacking was done by a group that other security companies call APT33, Microsoft said. (Wall Street Journal)

03-06-2019
Politics

An Iranian cleric known for his role in condemning thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s will take leadership of Iran’s powerful judiciary this week, in a move that is expected to keep the post under the influence of hard-liners.

An Iranian cleric known for his role in condemning thousands of political prisoners to death in the 1980s will take leadership of Iran’s powerful judiciary this week, in a move that is expected to keep the post under the influence of hard-liners. Ebrahim Raisi is set to take oath as Iran’s new chief of judiciary on Friday, according to an Iranian lawmaker quoted in state media. He succeeds Sadegh Larijani, another conservative cleric, who served as chief justice for 10 years before being named in December as head of head of a council that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Mr. Khamenei’s appointment of Mr. Raisi extends the hold of hard-liners and illustrates the enduring marginalization of reformists pushing for an overhaul of the judicial system and protection of human rights. (Wall Street Journal)

03-06-2019
Human Rights

A prominent human rights lawyer in Iran, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who defended protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women has been convicted and faces years in prison, an activist group said.

A prominent human rights lawyer in Iran who defended protesters against the Islamic Republic’s mandatory headscarves for women has been convicted and faces years in prison, an activist group said Wednesday. The conviction of Nasrin Sotoudeh, who previously served three years in prison for her work, underlines the limits of challenging Iran’s theocracy as it faces economic pressure exacerbated by the U.S. pulling out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. It also highlights the limits of Iran’s civilian government as well, as the administration of President Hassan Rouhani and others have signaled an easing of their concern over the mandatory hijab. It shows “the insecurity the regime has to any peaceful challenge,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, which reported Sotoudeh’s conviction. “It knows a large segment of the country . are fed up with the hijab laws.” (Associated Press)

03-04-2019
Human Rights

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judiciary charged a female equality activist with violating its national security because she sought to “normalize same-sex relations” in a country that imposes capital punishment for homosexuality.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s judiciary charged a female equality activist with violating its national security because she sought to “normalize same-sex relations” in a country that imposes capital punishment for homosexuality. The Iranian lesbian and transgender network group, 6rang, wrote on its website in late February that Rezvaneh Mohammadi’s charges include “collusion against national security by normalizing same-sex relations.” This is the first time that an activist faces such an accusation in Iran. She may be sentenced up to five years imprisonment.” Volker Beck, a leading German expert and activist on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that “this case is not about homosexuality, it is about freedom.” (Jerusalem Post)

03-04-2019
Human Rights

Michael R. White, the U.S. Navy veteran imprisoned in Iran since July, was beaten after his arrest, has no money to hire a lawyer and still does not know what charges — if any — have been filed against him, his mother said.

Michael R. White, the Navy veteran imprisoned in Iran since July, was beaten after his arrest, has no money to hire a lawyer and still does not know what charges — if any — have been filed against him, his mother said Monday. Joanne White also said that her son, a former cancer patient, had been taken to a court at least twice and that his health was deteriorating. A family spokesman, Jonathan Franks, said a GoFundMe page had been started to raise funds for Mr. White’s legal representation in Iran. Ms. White learned of her son’s travails after diplomats from the Swiss Embassy in Tehran visited him on Feb. 6 at the prison where he has been held, in the northeast city of Mashhad. The Swiss Embassy represents American interests in Iran. (New York Times)

03-01-2019
Syria Conflict

A new report from the Syrian Republican Guard revealed that several of the casualties from the Israeli attack this month on the Al-Quneitra Governorate were, in fact, Iranian soldiers.

A new report from the Syrian Republican Guard revealed this week that several of the casualties from the Israeli attack this month on the Al-Quneitra Governorate were, in fact, Iranian soldiers. According to the Syrian Republican Guard, five of the recovered corpses from the Israeli attack on the military garrison in western Al-Quneitra were found to be the remains of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel that were positioned near the border of the occupied Golan Heights. Thanks to DNA evidence, the Syrian military was able to confirm that the soldiers in western Al-Quneitra were from the IRGC; they have since begun the process of returning the bodies to Iran. While the DNA evidence helped confirm the identity of the soldiers, it also inadvertently revealed that the Iranian forces were still present along the border with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. (Al-Masdar News)

02-28-2019
Extremism

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, has threatened to “break America, Israel and Saudi Arabia” and vowed that Tehran will “never lay down” its weapons.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has threatened to “break America, Israel and Saudi Arabia” and vowed that Tehran will “never lay down” its weapons. Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, reportedly made the threats during a speech on February 19 just days after a deadly suicide car bombing killed 27 members of the organization. “Our nation’s sword has been drawn out of its sheath. Our enemies should know that we will never let them be,” Salami said. “The Saud regime should know that it will not last,” he added. (Al-Arabiya)

02-28-2019
Terrorism

The Iranian-backed hackers who stole personal data on Australian lawmakers earlier this year are the same group that attacked the British Parliament in 2017.

The Iranian-backed hackers who stole personal data on Australian lawmakers earlier this year are the same group that attacked the British Parliament in 2017, according to new research by a cybersecurity firm that sheds light on Iran's campaign of cyberespionage against its adversaries. A report by Los Angeles-based Resecurity, obtained exclusively by NBC News, says the Feb. 8 hack of the Australian Parliament "is a part of a multi-year cyberespionage campaign" by an Iranian-backed hacking group they call Iridium. "This actor targets sensitive government, diplomatic and military resources" in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., the firm says. (NBC News)

02-27-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the United States an untrustworthy and warmongering country on Wednesday, and urged neighboring Armenia to expand ties with Tehran despite U.S. pressures.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the United States an untrustworthy and warmongering country on Wednesday, and urged neighbouring Armenia to expand ties with Tehran despite U.S. pressures. Iran is struggling with the sanctions imposed by Washington after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers last year, calling it deeply flawed. “Americans are totally untrustworthy and they want sedition, corruption, disagreement and war everywhere. They are against Iran-Armenia relations,” Khamenei’s official website quoted him as saying during a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Tehran. “We are committed to good relations with our neighbours, but U.S. officials like (national security adviser) John Bolton have no understanding of human issues and relations,” Khamenei said. Bolton takes a particularly hawkish view of Iran in the Trump administration. (Reuters)

02-26-2019
Terrorism

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, has announced the development of a new accurate missile made with the help of Iran, which said it is capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Netanya in the center of Israel.

Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, has announced the development of a new accurate missile, which said it is capable of reaching Tel Aviv and Netanya in the center of Israel, threatening to turn Israeli cities into "hell" in any future confrontation. In a documentary broadcast on Iranian television, the Brigades’ military spokesman said that the missile was made with the help of Iran, adding that the first missile to be launched by the movement towards Tel Aviv “will be Iranian-made.” The group had fired Iranian-made missiles at Tel Aviv more than six years ago during the war that erupted in 2012. In the new documentary, Islamic Jihad said its engineers succeeded in redeveloping its rocket arsenal, which was destroyed in previous military confrontations. The movement warned that it would surprise Israel and respond to any future attack. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

02-25-2019
Terrorism

The Israeli military detected and blocked an attempt by Iran to infiltrate its missile warning system in 2017.

The Israeli military detected and blocked an attempt by Iran to infiltrate its missile warning system in 2017, preventing a potentially life-threatening situation in which Israeli citizens could no longer rely on the sirens that alert them to an incoming attack, a senior cyber defense official told the Bloomberg news outlet on Monday. The Iranian effort was first spotted in 2017 and, once its target was understood, the Israel Defense Forces worked to block the cyber attack and track the hackers, Brig. Gen. (res.) Noam Sha’ar, the outgoing head of the cyber defense division of the military’s Cyber Defense Directorate, told the website. (Times of Israel)

02-25-2019
Human Rights

A member of the Iranian Parliament (Majles) has disclosed that the country's Supreme National Security Council has banned the publication of news reports about water-related problems including shortage and misuse of resources.

A member of the Iranian Parliament (Majles) has disclosed that the country's Supreme National Security Council has banned the publication of news reports about water-related problems including shortage and misuse of resources. The disclosure appears to have happened inadvertently when the official news agency IRNA quoted Ardeshir Nourial, a lawmaker on Saturday February 23 as having said that officials in Isfahan Province, ignore government directives including the ban on publication of news reports on water shortage. Isfahan and its surrounding towns and villages have been the scene of protest demonstrations during the past year against government measures, including allocating the province's water to other areas. (Radio Farda)

02-25-2019
Syria Conflict

Syrian President Bashar Assad has made an unannounced trip to Iran, where he met with the supreme leader and other top officials to discuss the planned U.S. troop withdrawal and Turkey’s efforts to set up a buffer zone in northern Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has made an unannounced trip to Iran, where he met with the supreme leader and other top officials to discuss the planned U.S. troop withdrawal and Turkey’s efforts to set up a buffer zone in northern Syria, state media reported Monday. Assad met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani on the rare trip abroad — his third since the civil war broke out in 2011. The other two trips were to Russia. Tehran has given the Syrian government billions of dollars in aid and sent Iran-backed fighters to battle alongside his forces — assistance that, along with Russian air power, has helped turn the tide in Assad’s favor. (Associated Press)

02-24-2019
Military

Iran successfully tested a cruise missile during naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.

Iran successfully tested a cruise missile on Sunday during naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, at a time of heightened tensions with the United States. Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions. In August Washington said Iran had test-fired a short-range anti-ship missile in the strait during naval drills it believed were intended as a warning after U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. “On the third day of the ... exercises, a Ghadir-class Iranian navy submarine successfully launched a cruise missile,” official news agency IRNA reported. (Reuters)

02-21-2019
Terrorism

Hackers based in Iran and implicated in attacks on the U.S. and Western allies were behind a computer breach of Australia’s Parliament and political parties, a U.S. cyber research company alleged.

Hackers based in Iran and implicated in attacks on the U.S. and Western allies were behind a computer breach of Australia’s Parliament and political parties, a U.S. cyber research company alleged. This month’s attacks were part of a global espionage campaign that cybersecurity companies say began last year and that has mostly targeted the Five Eyes intelligence alliance comprising the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. They think the attacks were retaliation for President Trump’s decision to withdraw from a nuclear agreement with Iran. The focus and pattern of the attack is compatible with the activity of an Iranian state actor connected to the Mabna Institute, said cybersecurity company Resecurity President Charles Yoo. The Mabna Institute is a technology company linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. (Wall Street Journal)

02-21-2019
Syria Conflict

Iran’s foreign minister has accused Israel of “adventurism” for its attacks in Syria and says he cannot rule out a military confrontation between Iran and Israel.

Iran’s foreign minister has accused Israel of “adventurism” for its attacks in Syria and says he cannot rule out a military confrontation between Iran and Israel. In an interview with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published on Thursday, February 21, Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran is in Syria by the invitation of the host government, but Israel with its attacks violates Syrian and Lebanese airspace and international law. Zarif said, “Israel has embarked on adventurism, and adventurism is always dangerous”. Asked if he thinks there can be a military confrontation between Israel and Iran, Zarif said, “I don’t know but I cannot rule it out”. (Radio Farda)

02-21-2019
Human Rights

Iranian security has arrested six Iranian Christian converts in the northern city of Rasht during February, according to sources who spoke to Radio Farda.

Iranian security has arrested six Iranian Christian converts in the northern city of Rasht during February, according to sources who spoke to Radio Farda. Converting to another religion is forbidden in Islam and in countries where religious law applies converts can be prosecuted. Iran regularly arrests Christian converts, whose numbers have been rising in recent years, reaching tens of thousands or more according to some estimates. A well-informed source named the detainees as: Khalil Pour-Dehghan, Hossein Kadivar, Abdolreza Ali Haghnezhad, Kamal Nemanian, Mohammad Vafadar and Mohammad Eslamdoost. (Radio Farda)

02-17-2019
Military

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States. “From this moment, the Fateh Submarine joins Iran’s naval force with my order,” Rouhani said in a ceremony broadcast live on the state-run English-language Press TV. The Fateh “Conqueror” submarine weighs 600 tonnes, Press TV said, adding that it “enjoys state-of-the-art weaponry, including torpedoes, naval mines and cruise missiles that could be launched from a submerged position”. (Reuters)

02-14-2019
Terrorism

An Iranian-linked terrorist group, Saraya al-Ashtar, has released a statement threatening attacks on American and British targets in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

An Iranian-linked terrorist group has released a statement threatening attacks on American and British targets in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Saraya al-Ashtar, recognized by the United States and the United Kingdom as a terrorist organization, accused “American and British intelligence” of operating in Bahrain, and said: “so we say to the conspirators against our people that your support for the occupying Khalifa regime will carry a high price for you and will make you a legitimate target for our attacks.” The terrorist group also decried the Bahraini “regime’s openness to the Zionists” saying that it “has strengthened the will and the soul of the Islamic Resistance in Bahrain.” The statement also said that the “Zionist targets in Bahrain are a direct target of our attacks and revenge.” Saraya al-Ashtar, also known as the al-Ashtar Brigades, have claimed responsibility for more than 20 attacks in Bahrain, mainly against police officers and security forces. They were added to a designated terror list by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. (Al-Arabiya)

02-13-2019
Anti-Americanism

Iran can only lose by negotiating with the United States and must be careful to limit any dealings with some “untrustworthy” European states, the Islamic Republic’s top leader said.

Iran can only lose by negotiating with the United States and must be careful to limit any dealings with some “untrustworthy” European states, the Islamic Republic’s top leader said on Wednesday. “With regard to America, no problem can be resolved and negotiations with it have nothing but economic and spiritual loss,” Khamenei wrote on his official website. “Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them.” (Reuters)

02-12-2019
Anti-Americanism

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched on the streets of Tehran, burning American flags and taunting the West as it celebrated the Islamic Revolution's 40th anniversary.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched on the streets of Tehran Monday, burning American flags and taunting the West as it celebrated the Islamic Revolution's 40th anniversary by vowing to boost its ballistic missiles in defiance of U.S. efforts to curb its military. Students, clerics and women dressed in black and carried pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shiite cleric who toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in an Islamic uprising that still haunts the West. "Iran will continue to expand its military might and missile program," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the crowd who gathered in Azadi (Freedom) Square. He spoke for nearly 45 minutes, lashing out frequently at Tehran's enemies. (Fox News)

02-11-2019
Terrorism

The leader of the Hezbollah terror group said Tehran had assisted it in facing off against “Zionist aggression,” during a meeting with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Lebanon.

The leader of the Hezbollah terror group said Tehran had assisted it in facing off against “Zio